We're returning from the Coromandel, heading back towards Auckland,
and I'm in the back seat, staring out the window.
Blurs of green and yellow and bitumen blue. 
In the rear view mirror I can see Tracey, just her eyes,
and in the side mirror is Rach, just her collarbone, which I adore.

This landscape is so beautiful.  Wide grassy plains, with occasional tightly gathered cows,
heads all together like they’re planning a coup.

It’s the horizon that is the most striking now.  These fields could belong to my own Australian landscape except for their horizon.  Volcanic misty peaks, layered and foliage’d and quietly exciting.  Patches of sunlight drift over the trees, like golden jellyfish ghosts.

Our lively conversation of the morning has dropped off now, replaced with a comfortable peace.  Tracey reaches for her coffee, her eyes in the mirror are distant, contemplative.
I start thinking about connection, how we do it and why.

Out here in the vastness, it’s easy to feel insignificant, small, distant.

As if she saw my thoughts in her side mirror, Rach reaches a hand back behind her seat, fingers reaching, her palm a question,
“Will you connect with me?  Will you bridge this gap?”

My fingertips find her palm, and hers find mine, and we share a moment of no words, conveying soul-thoughts with the lightest touches, telling our heart stories to each other with tiny pressures and traces and piano taps.

I think connecting is work, and it’s risking rejection,
and it demands a sacrifice of our time and our comfort and our independence.
And the more we connect, the more these stakes rise.
We sacrifice our reputation for vulnerability, hoping and trusting that this other soul will be a safe place for all of that.  And we do it again and again, in so many forms, even after being hurt.

What’s the payoff for all this connecting work?
Nothing tangible, really.  Just feelings and self-worth and something we call “community”.
And that intense heat in our souls that make us want to give and sacrifice even more,
even if it costs us our life.

And maybe, also, when we connect we are voicing a solidarity -
That us humans, in all this wide open infinite, are doing ok, and are worthy of being here,
and are not alone.