I live on a mountaintop. A place where the ocassional fox yip, predictable roaring wind, and vigorous birdsong half of the year fade into a natural soundtrack I now regard as near-silence.
Three days ago, I became aware I worked to the music of quiet bleating. Looking up, then walking onto the deck abutting my office, I faced several thousand ewes and lambs performing a sheep symphony. They swirled like a creamy amoeba grazing the mountainside to the west.
A sliver of sheep near the ridge
Because my 33,000-plus followers are from twenty-six countries around the globe, I sometimes post location-specific photos (like the one above) that share America’s glorious West. These “life windows” build a sense of community among Christian and Muslim, Jordanian and Jew, Filipino and Philistine. They’re a way to connect with followers I hope will become readers, and are an important part of my author-reader forum.
And did these sheep connect! I heard from Arabs and Jews. A man from Abu Dhabi, one from Peru, two from Lebanon. A Palestinian and an Argentinian. I became more real via the herd whose South American shepherds return every year to help a down-valley familiy with livestock in numbers exceeding their ranch hands’ capability, and that blanket public lands while keeping fire-prone vegetation under control.
I was delighted at the responses, of course, and amazed at the unifying power of a herd of bleating sheep. Then I remembered a photo I took in 2007, representing my own migration fixation on a road on the Jordanian side of the Allenby Bridge.
I hope and pray on my literary journey I find more serendipitious connections with those who join me. And I’ll look for common themes in my public platform, ways to promote shared elements of the human condition.
How do you connect with your readers or followers? I’m interested.