... and you can also talk about loneliness.
Pam and I were out walking on the beach yesterday. We've had some super low and high tides the last few days and Pam says it's because the moon is full and wow, is it ever. I've stepped out to look at it several times. It is the brightest I've seen in ages and I wonder if that's because we're not polluting the atmosphere as much with car exhaust and other airborne things. I could sit out on my lawn in my folding chair and read a book, it's so bright.
So we took advantage of the low tide for our beach walk. When we first arrived, there were several walkers, alone or in small family groups, some dogs on leads. When we turned to walk back the other way, everyone had disappeared, as if taken up by an alien spaceship, so quietly and stealthily, we hadn't noticed a thing.
When I took this picture of Pam and the empty beach I felt that twinge of loneliness we feel from time to time, a kind of panicky feeling that I was on my own, no one would be looking for me, no one would know if anything happened to me, I would just disappear. It lasted for a moment and then I walked on up to join Pam and we continued our walk and chat.
I am not alone. I see people every day and people check in with me but the sight of the empty beach and Pam standing there like a solitary sentinel gave me a chill and took me back to a time when I was so very lonely I didn't think I'd survive: in my early twenties, living overseas and away from home for the first time, far away from my usual supports and family, a small studio apartment in a city that was often grey, damp, cold and rainy, friendless and foreign. That, to me, was loneliness and isolation.
Do we give much thought to the people who are so alone during this time? Those who live by themselves, perhaps don't like to go out much, are shuttered up inside, watching the rest of us walking, biking, laughing, talking within our social distance bubbles. It's easy for the grey shawl of loneliness to wind around our shoulders.
There's a lady in our street. I see her now and then. Sometimes she's sitting out on her deck, having a smoke and I wave and she waves back. I haven't seen much of her since we've been staying at home. Her curtains are drawn almost all day even though the weather is beautiful, the sunshine bright. She listens to talk back radio. I thought I saw her the other day, walking on the beach in a pair of old track pants and a heavy jacket even though the day was warm.
She was alone, head down.