So I have a habit of snapping videos of these weekly campfires of mine. Partly memory markers. Also, part, sharing with friends who can’t experience this with me for any number of reasons. It’s my physical way of sending out good vibes as the saying goes. Honoring those who can’t be with me. That last bit kind of complicated recently by a conversation that brought to light my one-sided stance on extreme distancing, as much as possible anyway, that I have been maintaining for the greater part of the year.
But first, I gotta say, my refuge at Great Seal State Park (GSP), while I resented how limited life became this year due to COVID, has been a lifeline like no other in my entire experience as a human being. Still, as I have already written about, it’s been a vehicle for both physical and mental health for me.
And yet, while I saw two friends, and made a new one (that was a luxury) aside from my husband this year to date, I am reminded anew about the obligations of friendship tonight. I mean, giving of ourselves physically. Body contact, shared breath, actual intimate presence. These are the failures I own as a result of adopting an aggressive strategy regarding COVID safety.
Early on during lockdown, I say early, but it was like the second month, I cut ties with two friends of mine who were not distancing and I felt like I wanted to encourage them to do so. It should have been an indicator that things were not right in my head. Still, I miss those guys. Yet, after a text exchange, last night at camp, with a man whom I admire a great deal, I face of possibly losing another friendship because he has called me out on the distancing thing. He’s right. It’s the thing that has crippled me emotionally at times this year. I respect him so much. I feel him. I want to be with people again too. I just, well, I’m not there yet. Sadly, and I don’t want this to happen, I support his need to cut ties.
He’s right. I’m physically not there. Maybe I never was. He’s not wrong. But, as connection, or the lack thereof, is heavy on my mind, when I sent him the campfire video last night as per usual, I got back a wonderful, generous but immediate plea to connect physically. I was presented with the gift of understanding what his needs are. That is what we are missing out on this year. Empathy. Connection. Presence. Shared experience.
And yet, the campfires. My meditations on light. This is my first post from a tent tonight. (Yeah, I get a good signal out here in this patch of woods). Well, while I have been bent on my own healing, I have to ask myself, maybe it’s time to focus more on other’s needs as I face the possibility of losing someone whom I value greatly. I regret the losses I have suffered this year. Friendships are treasures. And I’ve seen a small handful of mine wither and die over the years. I understand what that particular situation means to a person. When love dies. That’s what these COVID protocols of mine, and the failures of video/text/phone/technology, are doing to my life. It’s like a slow, sometimes abrupt deletion of parts of myself that were once connected to other physical beings.
I don’t have an answer to end this post with. However, maybe the insight lies within the thing that makes us human after all. Each other, together, being present, sharing experiences. I know we will again but it makes me wonder how we will heal from the scars of 2020 and how long that will take.