When I meet little girls, I could ask them about school, but that would bore them and bore me. So instead, I do a pretty hairstyle for them. Then we are friends. Here is a lovely little mate I had just met, visiting her home in Japan. I improvised with what was in my handbag, pins taken from my own hair, things at hand. In a photo a few minutes later, skinny me is picking her up and staggering around, and for those moments, our laughing faces agree, that being alive is wonderful.
You don't need to talk to people to connect with them. You could give them a back rub, or a hand massage, even strangers you just met a party. You can sing with them, read their palm, give them a manicure. I've done all these things, and it was a good idea every time. Don't frighten them though, keep it light. Stick to the same gender as yourself, to avoid complexity. Whatever you do, make sure your hands 'listen', so whatever you do is skilful and pleasant.
This video below was taken today, at Gardenfarm. Bob Tatnell the farmer is giving Toby the Wonderdog a nice long beauty salon treatment. It qualifies as part of the O-soji, or end of year Big Clean that the Japanese do. It also qualifies as the Australian end-of-year tradition of lolling somewhere in nature with you mates. 'How did it feel, Bob?' I asked him. 'Timeless', he said.
In the western world, we are very poor in this department. We just don't have a tradition of grooming each other. We are better at other things. War, for one.
This social season, have a go at doing what all the other furry animals know to do. Arrange to tend somebody. It heals rifts, creates alliances, and makes life quietly joyful.
Gardenfarm is a Permaculture Paradise, three hours drive from Melbourne in South Gippsland dairy country. I moved here when my Sydney house concluded. If you want to come for a holiday, you can! Here is a link, and to book a riverside campsite here. Bob was brave and made his Permaculture dream happen, and being around people who make their dreams happen is always a good thing.