Pine Nuts: I’m so lonesome I could die

The pandemic split our country open like a ripe watermelon. I got so lonesome sometimes I could hug Casper the Ghost. Presently I’m reading our Surgeon General’s book, “Together,” and in it Dr. Murthy reveals that, “People with strong social relationships are 50% less likely to die prematurely than people with weak social relationships.” And too, “Loneliness is a built-in reminder that we are stronger together.”

Loneliness has contributed greatly to the unraveling of our once civil society, as it erupts in alienation and anger. It appears that almost every possible psychological disorder has roots in loneliness. As John Donne wrote away back in 1624, “No man is an Island entire of itself…” Or, as one gang member succinctly put it, “In gang life the way to return love is to produce violence, to go out there and cause some havoc.”

We’re safer when we’re connected. Criminals tend to know when neighbors are tight-knit and look out for each other, and they stay away from those neighborhoods. If we try hard enough, and long enough, we can slowly replace fear and hate with trust and respect, but we can’t be taking any days off in the struggle.

I was reminded by a friend on a recent hike overlooking Lake Tahoe, that one of the largest living organisms in the world is a series of interconnected reefs off the coast of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, ‘interconnected’ being the operative word here. Our beautiful groves of Tahoe Aspen are similarly interconnected. We humans might do well to strive to be more like the Great Barrier Reef and Tahoe Aspen. Once we finally come to accept and appreciate our shared humanity, well, all will be right with the world.

Our mountain redoubt recently lost a wonderful family to Carson City when the Tahoe condo they had rented for so long was suddenly sold. The girls will make new friends fast, as will their parents, but there remains a palpable void here in the neighborhood. I feel a loss when I don’t get to see their smiling faces and hear their high energy greetings, and too, I feel a sense of loneliness. However, having spent 15 blissful years in the Hawaiian Islands, I was able to come away from there with a most valuable refrain by which to live, “Whenever possible, think with the heart.” Thank you Land of Aloha.

It’s going to take a lot of reaching out with kindness and respect to bridge our divide and heal the country. Alongside music and humor, kindness is the best medicine on the shelf, and we need to keep our medicine cabinet well stocked.

Just here, as I am wont to do, I shall leave the last word to our mutual friend and my constant companion, Mark Twain. “The best way to cheer yourself up, is to try to cheer somebody else up.”

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User