I forget about quarantine out here. I thought it was the isolation – no roads, cars, stores, TV. But I’ve concluded that my blossoming sense of normalcy comes from being with people, in the flesh. Perhaps we’ve stretched distancing’s rigidity, but virtually all interactions are outdoors, on porches, on the rocks, on wooded paths. Twice I’ve met new people and instinctively extended my hand. We remembered ourselves before touching, but the instinct is ingrained.
It’s not just a social nicety. Touch means something. In the absence of physical touching, we’ve had to make do with eye-touching and voice-touching. Virtual contact offers something, but physical proximity to other humans transmits a far more complex sensory messaging. Pheromones? Energy auras? Who knows? But the balm of physical closeness to other people has been palpable.
Extended family time, the brood of teens, casual encounters with island neighbors, friends just arrived for a week in a nearby cabin – all have lifted my fog of gloom.
Solitude is a treasure, but only in the context of contrast. Solitude must be a respite from human contact, not a replacement. We need to share space with each other, as we need sun and air.
My 60th year in 60,000 words
Day 337: 196 words, TOTAL = 54,726; 5,274 remaining
Robin Clifford Wood is a writer and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband and dogs, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her grown children and their multi-species families.