Connection in a Time of Distance

Michelle Berry Lane
6 min readMar 18, 2020

This past weekend, I went to walk my familiar two-mile loop around a small lake named Heart in a nearby State Park. As I parked my car in the lot near the trailhead, the joyful noise of red winged black birds claiming territory and calling to potential mates was filling the air even before I turned the car off. I got out and walked right down to the lake on a short, muddy path. The male red wings were all around, trilling their songs and flashing their gilded, bright red shoulders among the leafless brown-gray branches and last year’s tawny cattails at the edge of the water.

I stood there listening to the chorus of birds and looking out over the water. Behind me I could hear a family with small children who were talking, laughing and greeting some friends that were getting out of another car. At first, I felt interrupted by their loud communication, but then as I turned to look, I saw how happy they all were to be together, headed for an adventure. I smiled, glad that these people were taking their children into the woods despite the gray and chilly day. Usually on days like this there weren’t many people there, but on this day the parking lot was full.

The family and their friends went off in one direction, and I entered the trail from the opposite end. As I walked farther in, away from the talking and the red wings, all was quiet except for the occasional drumming of woodpeckers and the sound of little streams running down the hillside to feed the lake. A little way down the path I paused and looked over the tree-covered hills, breathing into the peace. I could feel myself relaxing into the spaciousness of my surroundings. This was a welcome feeling in this time of worries.

As I continued walking, I thought of the many people in this world who are suffering as the global wave of COVID19 is washing through our lives, disrupting our routines, and causing challenges that threaten a sense of security and even survival for many. We have walked through a doorway that most of us would not have imagined one year ago. I can’t help but think that this situation is rapidly illustrating how truly interconnected all of us in this world are. I also think that…

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Michelle Berry Lane

Earthling, Writer, Teacher, Learner; Attending to thresholds and the uncovering of meaning. MA in Theopoetics & Writing (ESR ‘23); taught kids sci/nature 25+y