Some yearn for solitude and some don’t. I’m one who does.
For years I planned on being like a woman I knew. She was a hermit, out in the woods, that lived with her animals and her books. And her words; she wrote children’s stories. Her contact with the world was me, when I came once a week with her groceries.
Except for the ‘hermit’ part, I reached that goal. Out in the woods with books and animals and writing. I didn’t think a man would sneak up on me. Luckily we prefer each other’s company over crowds.
Then there’s the solitude writers need. Not just for writing, but also for moving through the story world. Of course, that quiet time needs to be balanced with being out in the world because how else will you create believable characters? Yet, even among people, there’s a sense of the solitary, of being the observer rather than the participant. Though, don’t get me wrong. I can talk to anyone, about anything, anywhere.
An inner solitude also exists. Sometimes it’s a place of refuge. Strength. Sadness. Melancholy. Recharging. Withdrawing.
I visited that inner solitude going through radiation treatments the first time. It was a place where I could encapsulate fears I didn’t put in words. Didn’t want to share. Some think of that inner place as a room with a door that can be shut when they leave. For me it’s a sanctuary. A clearing in the forest. I could go there and be allowed to grieve without having to worry friends and family. Oddly, I always left that place feeling as comforted as after a crying jag against the husband. I don’t cry often, but I did in those days.
Physical solitude is something I value. And it seems to be something many people don’t understand. Sometimes you can’t avoid hurting friends when they want to get together and all you want is quiet time with your solitary partner, in order to recover from all the chaos. It’s the need for quiet space in order to breathe.
I have memories of the first summer we moved to the mountains. I lived alone in the tiny cabin, a couple miles from a tiny town, and have posted those stories before. Those months were when I realized the absolute soul-filling need for quiet, for trees, for water, for granite.
Of course that’s also the time I learned about fears that walk with solitude. It’s so black out there at night. When the sun sets behind the ridge and your kerosene lantern is just a tiny point of light, you realize you’re a solitary interloper.
But the value of solitude outweighs those faint fears, every time.
Do you find peace in solitude, or peace out in the world? What is your inner haven like?