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Mon, May 20

Piacenza: How’s your social life?

Coming to live in Prescott has been great for my social life! For one thing, in a smaller city, individual paths cross more often. Acquaintances from a club luncheon pop up at the grocery store and the animated conversation with my hairdresser becomes a whispered “Hi there! at the library. Gradually, the circle of people I’m on a first-name basis with has grown.

I’ve had the pleasure of being invited into some beautiful homes, sharing delicious and generously provided refreshments with interesting and talented people. What a treat! And I’ve held many more social gatherings in my own home than I typically did in the past.

In Prescott, it also seems easier to connect with common interest groups. Nowhere I’ve lived before have I been aware of such a wealth of groups dedicated to art, crafts, film, history, literature and science to name a few.

One of my earliest social forays was to a fashion show held by the Mountain Spinners and Weavers. One sweater-coat, a patchwork of deep browns, burnt oranges and avocado green, caught my eye. I approached its creator after the show. As we chatted, she shared that she had personally dyed the yarn all those beautiful fall colors. In fact, she went on, she had also spun the yarn. From the wool she sheared from the sheep. That she raised herself. Wow! Needless to say, I bought the sweater.

Shared political and practical issues (everything from Saving the Dells to street repairs) are also more visible to me. Our common ground is literally our common ground! Relationships that were initially superficial have been more closely cemented by shared beliefs and values. Participating in activities with a common purpose, I’ve found something that escaped me as a “big city girl” — a sense of community.

Here in Prescott, my sense of what it means to be social has blossomed and I hope in some small way is bearing fruit. I’ll never lose my appreciation for the comradery and amusement of the “eat, drink and be merry” sort of gathering. I love to have fun with other people! I continue to be amazed and inspired by the talented people I’ve discovered are all around me, in an art gallery, in an Ollie class, or across the table at a friendly lunch. And through programs like Prescott Area Leadership, Just Faith, Earth Day activities, Peacebuilder events and yes, political initiatives, I find my sense of social identity has broadened from personal affections to group solidarity.

I’ve spent many a pleasant evening at fundraisers, dining and listening to speakers with friends and acquaintances. To my mind, such affairs are a beguiling combination of fun and social responsibility. What could be better than to have a wonderful time while knowing the price of your ticket is going toward the promotion of something you feel is important and worthwhile?

The Webster Dictionary definition of “social” ranges from “marked by or passed in pleasant companionship with friends or associates” to “of or relating to ... the welfare of human beings as members of society”. I’ve only recently arrived at a point where, to at least some degree, the latter overshadows the former. In part, this shift was prompted by current events and social conditions. In part, it’s the result of the gradually deepening sense of community that Prescott has given me. It’s a new feeling, knowing with certainty that I need to act even with no certainty about the result.

Bottom line, it feels like the right next step in my social life.

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