Sunday, November 14, 2010
Passing on the Path
"It's a beautiful day for a walk in the woods," the grandmotherly type woman said to me as we passed on the path, she with her family, me on my own. I replied that it was a bit chilly and blustery.
These past months of walking have resulted in me talking to those I pass. There was once a middle-aged guy who was sitting next to me in the picnic area eating a lunch of Popeye's Chicken while I knit. We chatted a while. I always make eye contact with everyone and smile. A lot of people walk their dogs. I remember my husband informing me when we rode the bike trails together that the rule of courtesy is to always acknowledge a fellow traveler on the path.
In a way, these walks have helped my social isolation. My social skills feel rusty much of the time. Yes, I talk the odd few words with store clerks and hellos to people I know at school affairs. But long, deep, heart felt one-on-ones are few and far between. Sometimes I think that I am losing my conversational ability. I know in the end, these brief encounters don't make up for the significant connections we humans need to have with others. But they count for something.
It is also the same way with hugs. Hugs are nice and meaningful in and of themselves. But what I really miss is the sense of connection I had with my husband, another human being. When I hugged him there was something almost sacred because of our commitment to one another, our being married and the fact that we knew each other so well. A hug among those who love deeply or are dear friends has more meaning than getting a massage to simply feel someone touching you.
I miss the physical contact and the intimate conversations. Brief hugs in greeting and brief nods of hello along the wooded path are only fill-ins for the deeper intimacy I hope someday to find again. I feel sad knowing that in the meantime there is something greater out there that I have experienced and to realize that there is nothing that can take the place of it. I won't pretend that my hellos on the path are more than they are or that I long for something more sacred. I guess it is like longing for a steak and having to settle for chicken. There remains a sense of unrest and lack of fulfillment.