I remember, while in college on the East Coast, calling an old friend in Michigan. I hadn’t seen her in a long while, and the miles of interstate made it seem longer. It occurred to me what a marvel it was that we could be nearly a thousand miles apart and speak to each other in real time, with no delay. In my mind’s eye, I pictured a map of the United States, with a flashing red dot in Big Rapids, Michigan, and another in New Haven, Connecticut, and I insisted she talk over me for a moment to drive the point home that not even the length of a word could separate what not so long ago would have been a journey of weeks.
Today I live hundreds of miles from from my family, and hundreds from Jodi’s, as well, and it’s easy to appreciate (or even take for granted) how quickly we can reconnect with each other, good news or ill, important or trivial. I’ve wondered, at times, what people did not so long ago, before the Internet and phones, when they wished to feel close to distant dear ones …
Another friend, different from the first, contacted me via the Web from Texas several weeks ago. I haven’t seen her in years, either, and we had a very nice exchange through the course of the day. In the evening she dropped me a final note, asking if I’d seen the full moon that night. I admitted I hadn’t and said I would sign off and check it out. She indicated she was going to do the same.
I logged off, closed my laptop, and called to Puck, our Schnauzer. I opened the front door and stepped to the porch. The moon hung just above the rooftops, brilliant white against a clear dark sky. I gazed up at it, and in my mind’s eye, I saw a map of these United States, with the moon shining just the same over Albertville and Houston, and my friend and I with up-turned faces. In that moment, the light in the sky seemed less a moon and more a mirror, the reflection familiar even after the years and across the miles. A smile creased my cheeks as I raised my hand in greeting.