Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex

The Greeting Map

I have just returned from an ‘artists’ symposium’ called Liquidscapes, where I gave a talk on How to Read Water. Thank you to everyone who came.

The gathering was based at Dartington in South Devon, an old building that has been a nest of creativity for almost a century. It is the sort of place where even road signs have a small charm about them.

After the talk, I walked from Dartington along the river and through winsome countryside to the nearby town of Totnes, itself no stranger to creative types and vegan food. It was perhaps unsurprising given this backdrop that I felt inventive.

I took notice of the way that we are more likely to greet each other in rural areas than we are in town. At the start of my walk a ‘good morning’, ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ was exchanged with everyone I passed, but on reaching the tarmac of town these greetings had dried up on both sides.

But in the suburban land between town and country things were less certain, a greeting may or may not be offered. And on my return walk, I considered that the direction of travel seems to have some influence – we are more likely to maintain our greetings closer to town if heading from country into town than vice versa.

Drawing inspiration from my colleagues at the symposium, I decided to sketch in my head the ‘greeting map’.

Along the X axis we have distance from town in miles. Up the Y axis the probability that two passing strangers will offer a greeting to each other.