What is solitude?

On Sunday I worked feverishly preparing to leave for my trip  before dusk to Narrogin, a town some 250km south east of home.  It’s a long drive on a highway with frequent reminders of those who lost their life on winding roads.  By the way, highway is used loosely.  It is a single carriageway shared with oversized farming equipment at this time of year, heavily wooded areas, so plenty of kangaroo roadkill and a steady stream of road trains.  I’m always glad when I arrive at my destination.

For me, Narrogin, is a charming town.  There are some who may not see it that way.  But I do.  I love the postwar architecture.

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The major banks have the best buildings, it would seem.  Their presence is strong in this agricultural town.

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I love the picket fences and roses, lovingly tended by arthritis hands.  And, at this time of year, the flowering jacaranda trees that carpet the footpaths with purple.  Best of all, I love the way people call me “lovey”, an endearment not often heard any more!

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There are other reasons why I hurry to Narrogin, too.  It’s Foxes Lair.  So when I woke to rain yesterday, I was disappointed as I thought I’d miss my walk in the nature reserve just outside town.  I dressed in near darkness and headed to the reserve and waited with the birds for the rain to stop.  And when it did, the red cap parrot, high in the gum tree, and I, found the other, a benign curiosity.  I had only a few minutes of sunshine before heading to work.

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This morning I woke to a town shrouded in fog.  Fog!  In summer!  What in the world!

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And, behind me, the main road out of town, with Foxes Lair, just a few hundred metres away, and absolutely invisible.

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The Lair was ethereal, draped in thousands of spider webs.  The smell of gum trees!  Deep yoga breath …. and out again!

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As it was my last trip for the year I walked around the park for three hours, saying a lingering goodbye until next year.  I felt like I was saying goodbye to a loved one.

I walked around trails I had not walked before.  My footsteps crunching up the path, breaking the early morning silence.

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And other paths, …. beguiling and mysterious.  I had no idea where I was going and it did not matter.  I was one with nature.  I was in my chapel.  It is where I find Him.

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In my solitude I found myself noticing things I hadn’t noticed before.  The jewel amber like drop of gum sap.

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The morning glittered with dragonflies everywhere.  I needed patience for one to alight on a delicate frond.

DSCN9481.jpgThe butterfly with her stained glass wings, landed on a rock and posed, more beautifully than a supermodel with wings.

DSCN9249.jpgThe Lair changes every month.  The flowers are prolific.  There were thousands of these bushes (I have no idea what they are called).

DSCN9405.jpgAnd just when I was somewhat saddened I would not see them in bloom, I caught a glimpse of the treat that the bushes promised.

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In that quiet moment I understood what the poet May Sarton meant when she said, “Loneliness is poverty of self, solitude is richness of self”.

I have returned home enriched in mind, and spirit.  Today, I had the luxury of three hours but usually it takes only a few minutes of each day to experience solitude.  I seek it and feel deprived if I’m unable to experience it.  I firmly believe, loneliness is circumstantial, but solitude is a choice.  I embrace it.

May you find your path or paths to solitude.

Until next time,

As always,

a dawn bird

2 thoughts on “What is solitude?”

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