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What is isolation?

The one thought that comes to mind as I stare at the flowing river below and eat my hot, fresh corn on the cob is what is the true meaning behind isolation? I think we all have our own definition of this word and for some it might mean being blocked off from human contact for a limited amount of time and for others it might mean being blocked from the world. I think at some point we have all been at all ends of that level. For some, that level might tip the other way than another, but we all experienced all levels, but why is that not addressed?


Isolation might be taken as depression but is it really? I think at some point we all need isolation for our body and mind to recapture our self and to pull out our deep darkest thoughts and let them escape through channels that don’t involve other people. I don’t know if isolation is a bad thing, for we all do need human contact, or conversation at some time, but I do suppose when you truly think about it, only humans really select isolation. A tree is never alone, for the leaves may depart in the fall, but always return in the spring. The branches in which they remained tied to are always present. A river is always accompanied by fish, rocks, and alga.


The clouds in isolation can easily be joined by another through the strong current of the wind. An animal, either belongs to a pack, or seeks to be accepted by another. Which now brings me to a deeper thought, the ecosystem is a pretty complex system in our world and so is the human mind, but why do we allow such determination to isolate? As I mentioned above, it is needed at times to clear the mind and body from unwanted and unneeded toxic occurrences, but why are we so quickly judged by others if we choose to isolate. As I watched a documentary the other night on Hillbilly’s and how they are portrayed it made me think of this of this subject.


The documentary, called Hillbilly that came out in 2019 (which was very well done) by the Emmy-nominated filmmakers Sally Rubin and Ashley York gave a glimpse of a young girl at the age of 18 who left a small town buried in the Appalachia to gain a degree and to pursue filmmaking. She returns home near the Trump election and interviews family and local citizens, which refer to themselves as “Appalachian” instead of Hillbilly and to tries to break the mold that has been put on them. Some of the ways society views them is due to self molding and self representation and another through the workings of society. I think in any case, you think of that crazy person living alone in the woods, drinking moonshine, living off the land and sitting on the front porch with a rifle as pure isolation. In movies, they are shown as being isolated from the world and therefore, crazy.


The word isolation entered my mind one year ago this month as I said good bye to a home (not on wheels) and realized two things, 1. I would now be living a life of isolation (by my own selection) and 2. I would be now portrayed as white trailer trash or a hillbilly. I have a true and amazing love for the south as I have spent a good amount of time there, not enough for my blood, but have an amazing amount of respect for them. They have endured extreme hardship (which the documentary shows) not only with stereotyping, but with financial and true isolation. They have been forgotten about during times of tragic environmental interactions, the impact of coal mining, and the devastation of economic loss.


They lived through coal, worked on coal, breathed in coal and died by coal. Their isolation came from one thing, a sedimentary rock filled with carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen. You can even say that coal is not isolated for it is accompanied by so many elements! As I end this post, I think back to my first thoughts, isolation is good, but we all need the ties that bind. And of course, I play a song by my hero, Bruce Springsteen, “The Ties That Bind”.




Photo taken in Albion, Washington, 2019



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