Member Rara Avis
Way back in June, when I still had time to update the main site as often as I'd like, I wrote an introduction to a very special poem, by a poet named Lloyd Klumpp. It was our "Poem of the Day" (posted weekly, at best), and I selected it both because it was good and because it gave me the opportunity to talk about something I found increasingly important. I still believe these words today, more so than ever.
I've always thought of myself as a romantic. I believe in Love and, more, I believe in the expression of Love, and I've always thought my preoccupation with feelings made me a romantic. I have only recently realized, however, that I'm also something of a cynic.
Two months ago, if someone had told me a person could fall in love with someone they had never even met, I would have laughed in their face. I've always thought "love at first sight" was just a poetic phrase for lust, and if you tried to push "love at never sight" down my throat I would have called it a sad symptom of loneliness. I believe in Love, and I believe in soul mates, and I believe in happiness. I just don't think they're as common as too many people would have us believe. See - I really am something of a cynic.
But I'm not a fool. If I see the sun rising in the West once, I might think I've made a mistake. When I see it do it every day for a week, I realize I'm seeing a new world order. I'm seeing something that has changed.
For the past month, I've been seeing something new. At least new to me. I've made a lot of friends through Passions, met people I would never have met without the web site and without the magic of the Internet. Over two months ago, one of our first poets told me her daughter had met her husband over the Internet. It slid by me like a greased ice cube, and I thought little of it. About a month ago, I met a couple, both resident poets on Passions, who were looking forward to the day they could meet in person, a day that will finally happen, probably by the time this is posted. There was only a small ocean standing between them. And I've talked to others, as well, very sensible people who have - much to my surprise - found someone on the Internet they've been able to connect to.
People far wiser than I have called the Internet a Super Highway. A conduit of digital information. In classes I teach, I define the Internet as "a network of networks," millions of computers connected through a vast array of electronic switches. But I'm discovering what I should have realized long ago. The Internet is really a network of People. And, maybe, it's inevitable: where there are people, there will be friendship and romance and love.
Can two people, separated by perhaps thousands of miles, connected only via modem and magic, really come to know one another well enough to call what they feel love? I don't know the answer to that question. I do know that many of the friends I've made through Passions and the Internet have become very special to me. I do know there is one friend in particular I feel as if I'm coming to know very well. But, love? I don't know. I only know this is a new world, for me, for everyone, and we're still discovering the wonderful possibilities it has to offer.
Today's Poem of the Day is about this phenomenon I'm only just beginning to see. I think it expresses, better than most, something of what I'm still in the process of learning. This is only one of perhaps a dozen poems I've received in the past two weeks, poems that seem determined to convince me the sun is rising in the West these days.
Those of you who would like to read the poem, titled ICQ, can find it here. And for those of you who might be curious, every single one of the individuals mentioned in my introduction (though not by name) are Members here in the forums. Those stories, like all of the others here in this real world called the Internet, are still being written...
[This message has been edited by Ron (edited 09-27-1999).]