Finding Myself in Solitude Part 2
BY M.A. TARPINIAN
Solitude is by definition, “ the state or situation of being alone.”…… and while it doesn’t distinguish if it is voluntary or not, the meaning remains the same.
When I was growing up, my favorite place to be alone was the hill on my family’s summer property Birch Lawn. I would walk up the hill, plop myself down on the grass and just breathe. Sometimes I would lay flat and stare at the sky. Watching Summer clouds float by, I would easily fall into a trance-like state. The only sounds I could hear were birds, the occasional car on the bypass, and my own breathing.
It was in those moments that I had many revelations. About myself. Life. Love. God. My future. And my present. When I would walk back down the hill and re-immerse myself in the day-to-day activities of my family and friends, it was always with a clearer heart, a clearer mind, and a better appreciation of those in my life. I cherish those moments and have reflected on them many times throughout my life.
As I have gotten older I have realized that solitude is no longer a luxury but a necessity. One day about 15 years ago while perusing through a Barnes & Noble ( yes I’m one of those people you have to step over because I’m reading on the floor), I came across a book that, over the years I have read Every. Single. Summer. I have bought it as a gift for women in my life. And have recommended it more times than I can count.
“Gift From The Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. It is 130 pages of pure magic. Deceptively simple in its writing the book’s messages are profound.
“Gift from the Sea” is a record of Lindbergh’s voluntary solitude to a small little cottage on a beach where she could meditate, and write about being a mother, wife, writer. She uses the shells she finds on the beach as metaphors for the stages and phases in a woman’s life, and how both they and the people in their lives are all equally affected. She touches on how nothing in life is permanent. Change is always occurring. In relationships. In yourself. How you adapt is the story of how you survive.
Gift From The Sea enabled me to search for time in my life to once again, enjoy my solitude.
I don’t have my hill anymore to sit upon and ponder on life’s great mysteries. Or why a certain boy didn’t like me. Or why couldn’t I have blonde hair instead of brown ( all-important at 13 of course!)
But I have managed to carve out time to sit and read a few pages every week of this magical book.
And in doing so I have revisited the magic of solitude.
A gift we can all give ourselves.