I’m inspired by the ideas and photographs published here. And…as I consider solitude, a whole number of thoughts come to mind. For example, I disappear into art. I might be with others, but in an art gallery, I enter into relationship with paintings, drawings and photographs, sculpture and pieces of art-glass. Companions, other visitors and dealers circulate within the same spaces, but I am virtually alone.
I love to relax with an awesome piece of literature, but just as much, I enjoy the conversation that happens when I meet someone who has read the same book. Time with a book is ‘magical’ solitude. It most often happens by soft light, curled in bed late at night. It is comfortable. It is quiet. It engages my spirit, my feelings and my mind.
I enjoy reading on public transit. It seems that most everyone else is plugged into electronics, finding their own place of solitude. I like that I can sometimes near my stop, without realizing it because a book has carried me to a different place.
Solitude is enjoyed while sitting in the dark, watching a piece of beautiful dance or theater. With dance, I process my own ‘stories’ and sometimes just enjoy the abstract sense of movement, light and music. I like the sense of bodies in close proximity…other people engaged in the very same moment, but NOT really engaged with my very same moment. I enjoy the intimacy of watching beautiful, strong and flexible bodies moving through space for my sake and my pleasure. The dance speaks to me and again, I experience no judgment, pressure or sense of responsibility to the movement. It is almost as though it serves me, although I know that unless the viewer brings something to the piece, it is unfinished.
I enjoy watching live theater, especially work that makes me laugh. I hear myself laughing out loud. I mean, I REALLY hear myself laugh and then…the play disappears for a moment and I cry in the dark…cry for happiness of hearing myself laugh. I know that I have many unanswered questions. I know that I am often-times troubled by various changes that keep happening in my life…but, I cry for happiness and love that comedy causes me to laugh. There is a huge solitude that I experience in that whole process, alone in the dark.
Writing is a place of solitude and there is very little that feels as satisfying to me. I feel so calm, watching words fly across a ‘page’. I try to write something every day. It is as though writing can take me to a place of solitude that is very honest and so ideas are generated, problems are resolved and feelings are expressed.
Hiking, even with friends, is a place of solitude. I like the sound of each step…because on the trails, as I exert myself, each step becomes something that I consider. Muscles come alive. I feel sun or rain on my face. Unlike the hectic life engaged with work and social activities, hiking brings me home to myself. I see things because I slow enough to notice. I hear my footsteps.
In Fatal Wanderings: Thoughts on Jon Krakauer’s “Into the Wild”, solitude becomes a tragic circumstance. And, very honestly, sometimes I feel that I am pulled into a sad place in a circumstance of too much solitude…but, what I’ve tried to write about tonight is the absolute wonder and magic of solitude in just some of its forms. Solitude can be a very beautiful thing.