The family had a house in upstate New York, and an apartment in the city. They left the dog in the house because he was such a bother in the apartment — shedding, barking, needy. He was left alone, and they paid a stranger to walk him twice a day. She said he cried every time he had to return to the house and be alone again.
There is a man deep in the Amazon. His entire tribe is dead, and when researchers stumbled upon him, they estimated that he had been alone for more than a generation.
We are communal, humans. We are like our pets. We need the company of one another. In the old days, it was for safety. One tribe to fend off another.
The dark is different when we are not alone.
I think sometimes I am not as smart as that dog. Not as willing to cry out against my loneliness. My isolation.
I need you, fellow humans. Even in my despair. And my joy. I need you around a dinner table. I need you to tell me a story of the thing that happened to you one time, many years ago. I need you at the fireplace. I need you in the office, with the coffee cupped in our hands. I need you on these snow-burdened streets. In the club, our heads nodding in rhythm to the bass guitar. Our hips urging us higher, higher.
In this cellular age, I miss you. Like a dog alone in a house. Like a man left in the Amazon. Like a woman nearby, overly fond of solitude, and not always wise enough to tell you. Happy winter, friend. Have you noticed how the snow bends the trees, and urges us to go slowly, to let the quiet be quiet, to stretch as insistently as ever toward one another?