Loneliness


Loneliness adds beauty to life. It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night air smell better. ~Henry Rollins

This morning a sparrow came to visit me; he stood on the back fence and waited for me to move so he could feed on any leftover nyjer seed or small flies in my backyard. The sparrow species in the area are numerous, and you have to know what season their plumage is in to make an identification, and even then sometimes you’re wrong.

Silent days are always met with interjections: The screaming kid two houses down, the sound of a pinball machine in the front room, and the sound of my own brain, always looping.

The day is bright and warm, high 60s with a chance of boredom. It’s days like this that the animal kingdom enjoys the sun on their backs and Americans drink. Americans drink every day, for whatever reason. But we’re so afraid of being bored because that means we have to get creative, and the truth is that’s how creativity is born. Because inside we’re all still children and we’re bored with each other, so we make up things that will give us that dopamine hit, like sex, alcohol, and drugs. We’ve lost a sense of community and connection, like when you meet that person who really “gets you” and you get that hit in the best way.

I couldn’t figure out why I was so opposed to apps that would help me organize, help me meditate, help me be calm, tell me where to eat, how to get there, and reconnect with my friends. And I figured it out — I’m not calm because I’m not meditating or listening to rainforest noises, I’m agitated because there is an unrest and a loneliness in the world that can only be solved by connecting. Forget humans, I believe they are irretrievably broken. I mean, we spend our entire lives trying to fix ourselves, and what if there’s nothing to fix?

When I looked into the sparrow’s eyes I see something whole but otherworldly, a messenger. A silent reminder to connect.

I reach out to my friends or have the occasional interaction with a coworker or someone at a local store. I know I’m going to be one of those old ladies that bores the shopkeepers because she’s lonely, but that’s if there are any shops left. As Greg Brown once wrote “as the world becomes one big bland place” as soon enough there won’t be any plazas, just a world staring into a screen, begging to be understood. I think we’re already there, at lightning speed.

It’s physiology folks…we can’t undo hundreds if not thousands of years of relying on each other for our basic needs, but we’ve become these weird semi-bots, obese and needy and grasping for something outside of ourselves, but not grasping for one another. We can’t formulate replies in real time as it’s too risky, and interactions are forced and unsatisfying.

Wind chimes. That’s it. They make a melancholy sound. The earth has become so still some days I never hear them.

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