Social Connection

I’m alone a lot, mostly by choice. I have friends I value very much, but less need than some other people for social contact. The Internet — this blog and Facebook — are pretty good at supplying me a lot of what I need. I like writing and I imagine in a perfect world I’d write and people would write back, but… I’m a legit introvert and too much, too concentrated, social interaction and I’m exhausted.

But I need some and, even for me, this isolation thing is a little difficult. I miss the occasional adventures I have with my friends/neighbors — Elizabeth and Karen. I miss Lois’ visits from the Springs and the chance to go up there myself, or to Denver to see other friends. I miss talking to the kids and letting them “walk” the dogs. I even miss random chats at the supermarket, sometimes with strangers, sometimes running into people I know. However, I realized that what I DO get now, what I can GIVE right now, has an intensity and authenticity borne of our mutual knowledge that we’re all in a fucked up situation. Great article here in The Washington Post.

Today Teddy and I headed out to the Big Empty to practice Extreme Social Distancing. On our way, we passed the kids who came running to the fence. I stopped Bella.

“What are you guys doing?”

“I was playing. Where are you going?” asked the little boy.

“Out to the Refuge to see if there are any birds.”

“Can you come out of the car so we can see Teddy?” asked the little girl.

“I can’t. Not until this stupid virus is over.”

Their faces fell but they understood, and nodded. “I miss you guys a lot and I love you a lot,” I said.

“Us too,” they said, in unison.

Damned virus.

When Teddy and I arrived at the Refuge it appeared to be empty except for, in the distance, trucks belonging to the wildlife guys/young women. The cranes were very active. I think they are preparing to head north soon because there is more flying high in their crane vertices. I watched several of these moments. I sat down on a rock for a while to watch them take off, rise, and circle into the breeze of a pure blue sky, soaring, higher, higher, higher.

When they stopped, I got up, turned around and found they’d left a gift for me.

I haven’t picked up a feather for years. Long ago, I picked up every feather, loving, especially, to find hawk feathers. I adorned the inside of my truck, turning it into a mobile medicine bundle in which I burned white sage. But today I brought home the gift from the cranes. It’s a kind of company. ❤

20 thoughts on “Social Connection

  1. That’s a beautiful gift for you from the birds — something to remember them by as they move on in their natural migration cycle, and as the people subsequently disappear. I’m amazed at how many people I am missing seeing during this sequestration! I’m glad you saw the kids — that short encounter will be important to them, even though you and Teddy couldn’t come out and play!

    • I love it. I wish the photo accurately reflected the gentle shade of gray it actually is, but you know bird feathers are little prisms in their way.

  2. I went for a socially distant drive today. There are perhaps fewer cars on the road and parking lots are emptier. Not empty.

    I headed out to a socially distant trailhead. Usually there are no cars here but today there were already two cars. I went for a short, socially distant hike. I passed several other hikers but kept my distance. Why am I the guy who has to climb up the side of the hill when the other hikers stick to the middle of the path? Shouldn’t they be as concerned about distancing as me?

    When I got back to my car, there were 6 other cars in the parking area. This is what happens when people have free time.

    There are still trails out there I’m pretty confident nobody else would be on. The roads leading to them are all gated off but the dirt bikers have still taken over. The Forest Service locked them down last fall for the winter and won’t be opening then again until mid-summer.

    Heavy sigh!

    • One great reward from this strange situation is that I’ve spent more time with them than I ever have before. They’re fascinating and wonderful

  3. What a symbolic gift, glad you got to see the family and i know that I’m not exactly your friend or family that you want to see right now but I would love to recieve emails and messages and respond to them as in your perfect world. Have a great day!

  4. That feather looks big! I think the cranes knew you needed that token. A trip to see the birds up close is something I’d love to do. My friend here has been distraught because the stores are not stocking her dried meal worms that she feeds to the blue birds… She is hoping that they stick around after her supply is gone. I wanted to go over to see them but with this social distancing it isn’t going to happen.

    • The feather is about 8 inches long. I think it’s a wing feather. The cranes are fascinating to watch. I love it when they are around. The cranes were one of the “perks” that drew me to this remote place, that and the Rio Grande and the mountains. I like to think the cranes “gave” it to me and even though I know it probably had nothing to do with me, I also don’t know that it didn’t. ❤

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