When I was at home, I swam in the cove. I always took the side away from the small group of diehard swimmers who were there every day. I liked their presence but also craved that coma of submerged solitude. I would dry off the other end of the sea wall too, but pet their dog when he came near, wagging and wet and stepping on my feet.
But when they were dry and dressed and leaving, climbing steps to the road above, they would wave and nod and smile in my direction. And I would wave and smile back, full of friendship.
There was a thread of aloneness running through me week. At times it was decadent, at others lonely. Then, I conjured people to talk to, company to tidy up for. I dug around the edges of all these feelings, trying to understand the qualities and circumstances that changed one from the other.
I looked again at Irish Grandmother by Kate Hutchinson (previously blogged here):
"My grandmother is a quiet and reserved woman who is an integral part of who I am. She does not readily allow people to enter her world or know her thoughts. While photographing her daily routine and rituals, I did so much learn about her history or her life story, as was part of my original goal, rather I discovered who she needs to be to get through the day."
And I dug out my old Thoreau too, a copy I've had since my own summer near Walden Pond.
"Some of the pleasantest hours were during the long rain-storms in the spring or fall, which confined me to the house for the afternoon as well as the forenoon, soothed by their ceaseless roar and pelting; when an early twilight ushered in a long evening in which many thoughts had time to take root and unfold themselves."
Contrast with: Solitary, half mad
"I became interested in the capacity we have as people for isolation, and how romantic ideals of solitude and escapism are often more fantastical than reality can offer."
Happy Friday, friends.