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I fell in love with Simon and Garfunkel when I saw them on the Smothers Brothers TV Show. My brother gave me the Sound of Silence album as a gift, and I was hooked.

I loved all of the songs on the album, but one of my favorites has always been I Am a Rock. It’s an anthem for introverts.

I have my books and my poetry to protect me

I am shielded in my armor

Hiding in my room, safe within my womb

I touch no one and no one touches me.

I am a Rock, I am an Island.

Like many Simon and Garfunkel songs it gets a little too dark:

I’ve built walls, a fortress deep and mighty

that none may penetrate.

I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain

it’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.

I am a Rock, I am an Island.

At the same time I discovered Simon and Garfunkel, I discovered John Donne:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

- John Donne, Meditation XVII, 1624

I've joked that the shut down of the last few months had minimal effect on me. It just meant that I didn't have to go outside for my meetings anymore. I was quite comfortable being confined to the house, with little personal contact.

At the same time, it became clear that we are “involved in mankind.” My individual actions of isolating and wearing a face mask could have an effect on others. My individual action of picking up a few cans of food at the grocery store and bringing them to the food pantry could make a difference for others.

I will always love Simon and Garfunkle, but I like that the wisdom of the ages rings truer. No man is an island.

- Ann Iona Warner


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