Yesterday I took a walk on a path near my home. As I turned a bend in the path, I saw a transparent plastic container atop 2 milk crates. At first, I thought it might have been left by a homeless person, but as I got closer it looked like the plastic container had something in it and had an open end. Was it a makeshift bird feeder or squirrel feeder?
Then I got there and saw a small label at the base of the container. I don’t recall the exact wording, but it read something like “Free Library. Take a book and leave a book”. Inside were several paperback novels.
The label was handwritten in ink and hard to read. This was clearly jerry-rigged by someone, but who?
This reminds me of another time when I was at a coffee shop and found a book on a table with a label to take it, read it, and deposit it someplace else. I did that, next depositing it at a bus stop.
Or Geocaching — remember that? People would leave various objects hidden and leave hints, then people would go looking for them and signing the objects (perhaps leaving a trinket) when found.
Why do I bring these things up? Because these are really cool examples of people doing things that build a sense of connection without ever meeting. It’s so easy to take simple actions that have a ripple effect and that make us and others feel connected. Our objects become the sole means of connection, a connection to a larger, inferred community.
It’s also a reminder that we don’t need official sanction, money or talent to do something that will create anything — even a “shared space” for others.
It’s these little bits that add zest to our world.