The Feeling of Community

When I was climbing mountains, I’d regularly sign up for a guided climbing trips, sometimes with a friend and sometimes by myself. It was a great way to travel and also get to climb a mountain or two. Typically we’d all converge in a meeting place and do the initial meet and greet and then go from there.

The groups of people that would come together were always interesting. I’m thinking about a particular climb of two volcanoes in Mexico. We all flew to Mexico City where we met our guides and fellow climbers before riding in a van to the base of Mt. Ixtacchuatl for our first climb.

The group was mostly Americans but otherwise there wasn’t an easily defined demographic, not gender, education level, personality type other than love of mountains.  On this particular trip, there were very outgoing people like my friend Jill and man named Trent who loved to talk and help anyone with anything. Most of the group was like Paul from Greenfield, NY who was really nice to talk to but more reserved about initiating conversations. There was our guide, Phil, who liked to just spit out wisdom or quips in one line but not talk endlessly (e.g. “Watch out Jill, that guy has more moves than an earthquake.”)

As we went around doing introductions, one man named John stated very clearly, “I don’t like people. I’m just here to climb the mountains.”  Which was fine because that’s what we were there to do.

We summitted the first mountain, Mt Ixtacchuatl (17,338 feet) on October 31 and then headed down to celebrate the Day of the Dead in Puebla. After a day of rest, we started up our second mountain, Mt. Orizaba (18,491 feet).

After being dropped by trucks on the mountain, we spent the evening in a hut. At this point, we’d been together as a group for about 5 days and we were having a great time and working together pretty well as a team. The guy that didn’t like people was a very good climber and mostly stayed to himself, grabbing his share of dinner and finding a quiet place to eat it.

Around midnight, we got up from the few hours of rest we’d gotten and started preparing for our summit attempt in the dark using the light of our headlamps. We climbed steadily in the dark for about 6 hours until we reached an exposed couloir. We paused as the guides tried to get some ice screws deep enough into the fractious ice to secure our trip across the steep gully. Eventually we realized that the conditions wouldn’t allow us to cross safely over that part of the mountain and our summit bid had ended.

As we sat on the mountain watching the sun come up in no hurry to get anywhere, John, the climber who didn’t like people, pulled off his boot and found a Payday bar. He’d put the candy bar in his boot while preparing in the dark and then forgotten to take out. After being climbed on for 6 hours, it was shaped like an orthodic. He pulled it out, showed it around and we all had a good laugh alongside him as we imagined the journey of that candy bar. Even John enjoyed for that moment being part of a group that understood the crazy things that happen on a climb.

That particular event created an idea of community for me. One where we don’t have to all be best friends or come out of our comfort zones but can still enjoy the camaraderie of a shared experience focused on a common interest.

This makes me wonder about the Pointless Overthinking community.  Can a blog be a community? What are common interests for this community – is it an interest in pondering deeply about life? Or in writing about subjects that are more contemplative? Could it be an interest in philosophy, psychology, history or spirituality?

Perhaps it’s simply an interest in blogging. In the activity of regularly having a platform in which we get to write about and read about life.

One of the most challenging aspects for me when I started blogging was the comments – figuring out where and when that I had something to add to a post or piece of writing. But it has also been the most rewarding as I’ve gotten to know people. Like with the climbing groups, the level of engagement is optional.

As I type this, I hope that you, my Pointless Overthinking community, feel some sense of what we are doing here together – pondering life to find some kernels of meaning, perhaps. And because it’s a shared journey, I find it rewarding to know your thoughts. Let me know what you think this community is about!

Please come visit my personal blog at https://wynneleon.wordpress.com .

Follow me on Instagram at @wynneleon

(featured photo from Pexels)


29 thoughts on “The Feeling of Community

    1. I like that you define the community of WordPress in your comment. Yes, the shared experience of blogging is something that we all have on this platform. Thanks for adding this insightful dimension to the conversation!

  1. A sense of belonging and a channel of communication is what every individual desires even though the desire may differ depending upon the person’s nature and present and past experiences. We often form groups based on common likes and passions, and it’s this particular commonality that binds us though there may be nothing else we share. Finding one’s voice or place in this world can be very intimidating but having others who resonate your thoughts, ideals, and pursuits can be invigorating. ‘Pondering’ is also a platform where many can find sound footing and release themselves without the fear of judgment because everyone is in a state of contemplation. It’s nice to have a say in something that doesn’t have to lead to some grand conclusion. Thanks for sharing this, Wynne. 🙂

    1. A great comment, Terveen. I really relate to your observation that, “Finding one’s voice or place in this world can be very intimidating but having others who resonate your thoughts, ideals, and pursuits can be invigorating.” I will check out Pondering – sounds like a wonderful place of contemplation. Thank you for reading and adding to this community!

  2. Thank you, Wynne, for sharing another wonderful post with all of us. As I read through the account of your group of climbers, I wondered what was going to happen; and I was especially curious about John, as you had mentioned him several times. My heart is glad that, at least for a brief period, John allowed himself to part of the group–that he could laugh and have fun with others.
    You bring such a valid point about blogging, and our little group here at Pointless Overthinking. For me, it all started when AP2 and I would occasionally comment on each other’s posts. I find it wonderful getting to know the other writers as they share their nuggets of wisdom or even humour. To me, it’s the heart that matters. Thank you, writers, for bringing heart to your posts–that’s what I’ll remember. 🙏🧡

    1. Thank you, Art! I like your summary that “it’s the heart that matters.” I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for your insightful comments and writing that adds to the heart of life!

  3. The sense of community here has been the most unexpected and rewarding benefit of beginning to blog one year ago. Your thoughtful comments are a big part of that, Wynne. Thank you 💜.

    I admire mountain climbers. I love the majesty of mountains but am terrified of heights. In Morocco, an easy trek up the High Atlas Mountains almost had me in tears due to fright. The others in our small group were incredibly kind and patient and comforting. I was embarrassed and disappointed by my failure to conquer my fear. But I will always remember the warmth and support of that small group of strangers.

    1. What a lovely comment! I have not felt well on a climb with a group of strangers and so I think I can relate “to the warmth and support of the small group of strangers” as you so aptly put it.

      Trekking in the High Atlas Mountains sounds like an amazing adventure – you are impressive for giving it a go. And whether it is fear, sickness or something that keeps us from the summit, hopefully the community makes it worthwhile.

      Thank you so much for being such a delightful part of this community. I feel so blessed to have been able to get to know you through blogging!!

  4. I think that communities form around any shared activity involving other people. When I was in a competitive karaoke league, even when we were competing against each other (and there were people who were crazy intense about the competition aspect), there was also a sense of community because we frequented the same bar and participated in this odd hobby together. Blogging creates community too

    1. What a fun comment! I’d never heard of a competitive karaoke league but you make it sound so fun and delightful. What a great story about community!!

      And it’s been delightful to interact with you and to get to know you a bit through Pointless Overthinking. I always appreciate your comments – thank you!

      1. It was quite the experience: https://jewishyoungprofessional.wordpress.com/2021/03/16/7-life-lessons-from-competitive-karaoke-because-i-learned-nothing-from-the-pandemic-year/

        I still maintain that pretty much any form of activity/interest done with others will create a community. The gym classes I go to have a set of regulars who have created a community of sorts. When I go to a writing retreat, that group creates a community for the duration of the retreat.

  5. I particularly enjoy the Pointless Overthinking blogging community because I feel a sense of resonance with others who are on a similar inner journey as my own. It’s lovely to connect and make friends with total strangers who become friends, even though we may never meet face to face. Like-minded folks are hard to find, but there are an abundance of them here, and for me, that’s a blessing. Thanks all!

  6. I love the point that your make about a “similar inner journey,” Julia. I find myself nodding in agreement that is a good description of what I’ve found with this blog. And I’m so grateful for connect and making friends with you through blogging! Thanks for the delightful and lovely comment, as always!!

  7. Sharing ‘Me’ on this platform of blogging has returned my once silenced voice. I have joined the community, as you perfectly said, to “feel some sense of what we are doing here together – pondering life to find some kernels of meaning, perhaps.” 💛

    1. How powerful to read your words, “returned my once silenced voice.” What a beautiful message that is that we can cultivate our voices through the blogging community. I’m so grateful you added that to this conversation!

  8. The writing community is indeed whacky, but nicely whacky 🙂 I find it pleasantly surprising to connect with fellow bloggers, read their opinions and point of view, how every one reacts to a certain image or prompt and then exclaim ‘wow, that was exactly what I had been imagining’. I am ever so thankful to have discovered WordPress and the large community of like-minded individuals. Oftentimes when feeling glum I read a post and it seems as though Providence wanted me to read the post-it feels it was written for me.
    And again, I love how to relate it to mountain climbing. I absolutely agree and resonate since I try go to the Himalayan treks every year.

    1. First, I’m swooning that you try to do Himalayan treks every year! Wow, wow, wow!

      And I love your comments about the whacky community. What a wonderful point that our shared writing not only connects us to others but also opens us to just what we need at moments! So grateful to have connected with you on this platform, parikhit!

  9. I like very much being part of this blogger community. I think you are right Wynne, we are a community. I feel more engaged with my writing since I started to write for PO because it’s a community!

    1. Thank you, nimi! I agree — all the different people that would come together in those groups were so interesting!! Thank you for reading and such a lovely comment!

  10. I have so many time thought of the blogging community that I did not know anything about before I started.
    It is a gift to be a part of this community and read so many different blog posts, perspectives on life, about travelling and general experiences of life and being a human being on this blue planet of ours

    1. What a beautiful comment! Yes – it was the same for me that I have enjoyed being part of a community that I didn’t know existed before I started blogging. and I love how you put “being a human being on this blue planet of ours.” Thanks for adding this to the conversation!

  11. Thank you, Wynne, for sharing your climbing and blogging experiences. I began blogging at the beginning of the pandemic, having just moved to a new community. Blogging helped relieve the isolation and helped me get through that uncertain time. It was wonderful to get to know some of my fellow bloggers, people with whom I have a lot in common. It is also invaluable to receive helpful feedback on my writing.

  12. Fabulous story. Funny about the candybar orthotic! I imagined it was shared as a melted, slightly odiferous communion with the fellow climbers. Doesn’t matter if it really happened 😉

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