Solitude means many things to different people. For me, Solitude feels like an old pal that pays me a surprise visit when I least expect it. Solitude feels masculine to me, he’s aged and wise and comforting, and I do so enjoy his visits. He only comes to me in public places that I would not expect to be alone. He never comes to me when I’m home or in my car. He surprises me, tickles me and leaves me feeling so incredible and most importantly … calm.
I’m not sure I appreciated my solitude as much when I was younger, but the last ten years I’ve changed. Being an only child, it probably is no great surprise that I would learn to love being alone. But with that said, I love being with others as well, and what I am very cognizant of, is that Solitude feels that much better when you know you have loved ones to return to.
Some of my favorite places to find my buddy? I’ve had a few…
A pool, I love swimming, so me alone in a pool is heaven. All the waves moving throughout the pool, whether they be waves I have created physically with my arms or through my chakras system, are mine. It feels amazing to resonate alone with my energy splashing against the edges of the pool and back to me. Solitude lets me float and play and dream, and many times figure out what’s ailing me, or what my next move needs to be. Like a chess board, in life we’ve always got moves to figure out.
Another favorite, the BEACH … definitely one of my true loves. I used to live on the coast, and when I first moved there, it was not unusual for me to be the only one on the beach. Can you imagine? In the four short years I lived there, that already began to change. But while I was blessed with that treasure, I can’t tell you how many times I walked the shoreline, taking a break to lay down, using my coat as a pillow, and awakening some 30 minutes later to the sound of the waves and a peaceful soul, regardless of what my mood might have been when I stepped foot on the beach. Solitude sidled up next to my side as I slept peacefully in the sand.
I miss the beach, and have yet to make the river that winds through the hills I live in, my friend, but I will in time. It’s been a lack of time more than anything that has kept me from that. (Well, that and maybe the fact that I’ve seen the bears scavenging for food on the other side of the river while I’ve been hiking, not really thinking a nap is the right thing?????)
I recently met Solitude in a brand new place, the train. My new job (yeah, I know, I still haven’t told you guys about that) necessitates me traveling on the train to San Francisco once every few weeks. I actually love the train, watching out the windows as the beautiful landscape passes by my window. Sitting in the first car, I can hear the train’s horn as it sounds going through the populated areas. It’s constant and muffled inside the cabin, and reminds me of the distant fog horns I heard living at the beach, which I also loved. I find the sounds soothing, a marker of life moving forward, reminding others to stay safe and be well.
My grandfather spent his life working for the railroad. My mom told me such sweet stories about him, and her memories being the daughter of a railroad man. I never knew him, he passed long before I was born, but the way I feel on trains makes me know his blood definitely courses through my veins.
My train ride begins in Auburn at 6:30 a.m. We are the first stop. The train sits empty, quietly awaiting us first arrivals that will board in Auburn. We are also the last stop of the day when we return at 6:30 p.m. A full day, 12 hours later we pull sleepily back into the station. The last 30 minutes of the ride are the most beautiful as we snake through the foothills.
Last week during the last 30 minutes, I looked up to realize I was the only one left in the train car. My pal, Solitude, had surprised and delighted me once again. The feeling is a bit hard to describe, even for one who loves words … but the best I can describe what I feel is that I breathe deep without even trying, I relax, I feel a little mischievous, I begin to fill the space even if that’s just in my mind, and I enjoy it for as long as it lasts. And when I must part with my pal, I feel like I’m walking on air.
Solitude and I rode through the hills together in my empty compartment until I bid him farewell as we pulled into Auburn. I tipped my hat, told him not to be a stranger, and that I hoped to see him again soon.
I got my wish today, as I swam my last laps in our HOA pool before it closes this weekend for the winter. There was only one other swimmer that left me alone for the last 20 minutes of my swim. Once again, I was blessed to swim alone, and quietly say my goodbyes to the waves for another season, but hopefully not Solitude.
This weekend we join our beloved lifelong friends to celebrate the marriage of their son. Contrasts in life, the importance of mixin’ it up …. life is full of treasures.