Friday, August 10, 2012
thoughts on a solitude that perhaps isn't truly solitude
I don't know if you have noticed this or not, but I have not really chronicled here about my experience the past ten days with solitude. I have shared words from others, and I have scribbled words to myself in my journal, but when I perch myself before my computer to tap out my thoughts, nothing comes to fill the terrifying white space space before me.
I sit here on my porch on this cool morning with a blanket tucked up under me and a cup of coffee in an earthy green mug beside me and a little white dog perched on my lap.
And I fear that I have nothing to say to you.
My fear partly stems from squirming in the uncomfortable space of belief that I am doing this solitude thing all wrong.
You might reassure me that as long as I am spending time alone, I can't be doing it wrong.
But I am not so sure.
I have spent my moments in solitude, yes, but I am never really alone. This early morning, for example, there is a tug within me to shut my laptop, lean against the back of the couch on my enclosed porch, wrap my chilly fingers around my warm mug of coffee, and watch the world wake up. I could do this. Matt is gone to work. It is 6:30 in the morning and my two children are still asleep. The crickets are chirping their early morning song. The trees are waking up against the backdrop of a sleepy, watery blue morning sky. No one needs me right now to pour a cup of ice water or kiss a bonked head or soothe an injured heart. I could stop clicking keys, snap my laptop shut. And just be.
Yet I resist.
I have been resisting.
Instead of just being, in my moments of solitude I have filled the space with words. They are good words. I have lingered over beautiful sentences, puzzled over confusing thoughts, and penciled in my own meandering ruminations. I literally have seven pounds of alphabetically-listed words sitting right beside me, just in case I don't know what a word means or my own words don't capture my thoughts just right.
Technically, I am spending those hours in solitude. But is it really solitude?
If I sneak down to the basement with a spoon and fill my stomach with the strawberry ice cream in our deep freeze, does that mean I am not eating just because I am consuming it alone?
Likewise, if I spend my hour of alone-time in the morning hungrily filling the empty space inside of me with words, am I truly in a space of solitude just because I am ingesting those words alone?
I don't know.
I feel the call to sit and simply be.
I answer that call by opening a book and shaking out its words into that terrifying, empty space.
It doesn't feel quite right.
I have 25 minutes left of solitude this morning.
Perhaps I will be courageous enough to close the lid of my laptop, pour myself another cup of coffee, and just be.