Five Bloggers on the Virtues of Solitude
There’s something to be said for being alone: for those moments of solitude that give us the space to breathe, regroup, process our thoughts… or maybe just to take a nap or read a good book.
This week, as the world focuses on romance, take a moment to celebrate the powerful relationship between me, myself, and I.
On Eat Stories Like Grapes, Clara pens a sweet ode to the quiet times that help her prepare for the busy times.
The Fall offers a beautiful and necessary chance for solitude after all of the weddings, graduation parties, and festivals which make summer the amazing whirlwind that it is. It creates rhythm, a pause, before the jovial Christmas season. I need such pauses. I need re-grouping at times. I need solitude in order to give full energy to the more lively seasons.
The blogger behind P & Q Discovery celebrates bad weather, which turns everyone into an introvert, like it or not.
They are obligated to raise shields made of hoods and umbrellas. Raincoats and boots. No exposed skin, no vulnerability. A cocoon of layers that creates a sense of isolation and detachment, where we feel anonymous and invisible among a sea of lowered heads moving too quickly through the mist to notice one another. We are unseen, yet still connected in that we are enveloped by one melting sky. We still share its consequences because, inevitably, the rain effects our day. It changes our plans, one way or another, however different. So, in this way, everyone in the rain shares a temporary bond. A commonality that is acknowledged silently and privately behind barriers: this is our ideal version of unity.
Books are ideal places of solitary refuge, and Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, asks us to stop and appreciate the folks who help us find them: librarians.
Librarians are how libraries speak. Theirs are the small faces behind a million stories and facts. Theirs are the simple hands that introduce you to the people who will shape you, and the ghosts that will haunt you, and the ideas that will drive you, and the friends that will never leave you. They know the science of knowledge and beauty and laughter, and – though you can’t quite imagine it – they’ve cried over the same books that have broken and rebuilt your heart. They’ve ridden in the same sleigh with the snow queen. They’ve flown over London and sailed on pirate ships and visited Shangri-La and watched the world be destroyed and created and destroyed again.
Noortje Russel’s contribution to the “Solitude” photo challenge was this quiet, calm image of Alastair the Scottish Highlands cow, alone in a snowy landscape.
After five days of solo hiking along Portugal’s Atlantic coast, pseudonymous blogger Verne of Jules Verne Times Two reflects on how important time with other people was — but how brief that time needed to be.
So, against all my expectations, those four or five daily fleeting moments of interaction with others became something to look forward to. We would rarely exchange more than a couple of words, but those were enough for me to imagine an intricate character. Mr. Alberts, a British retired clerk following the same sandy path he and his wife – just recently passed away – took many years ago. João, a young fisherman with fear still darkening his expression after barely making it back to the shore when large waves got hold of his tiny boat. Anja and Stefan, a German couple that left everything behind to live from a small patch of land, now struggling with the hardships of farming. Cristina and Manuel, two friends hiking through Portugal, feet resting on top of the heavy backpacks, weary from the month long voyage.
The blogger at ms. diplomacy responded to our “Solitude” challenge with this meditative imageof a shelter in the middle of the Madu Ganga River in Sri Lanka.
Writing in ILY, Pardis Alia explores life post-breakup, and how she found her voice and herself through art.
And I returned to the canvas, to the pen, and the paper. A few months later, they had transformed for me. They weren’t tools for my grief. They weren’t tools to overcome my love. They were the love. I felt for them the same way you do a new lover; with excitement, with opportunity. Without realizing, I took the love that once was so powerfully vomit-inducing and made it into my muse. The art I created wasn’t attached to the man or the cruelty. It was powerful because it spoke. And what it always spoke was love, painted and reflected back at me.
At Ruby’s Polaroid, Tolulope Sanusi’s interpretation of “Solitude” was this image of a police officer in Lagos, Nigeria, who found a quiet spot for an afternoon break.