"Our language has wisely sensed the two sides of being alone. It has created the word
'loneliness' to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word 'solitude' to express
the glory of being alone.”
This quote, from the German-American theologian Paul Tillich (1886-1965), seems quite relevant for life at the moment. The month of August in France, here at least, has lived up to its reputation for leaving towns and cities deserted of many of their normal inhabitants over the holiday period, abandoning them to the throngs of tourists. I think almost everyone I'm close to, my children included, has gone off. I've been left holding the fort, along with several bunches of keys for house-keeping purposes and have suitably busied myself. Plants have been duly watered, letterboxes emptied, shutters opened and closed, dogs walked and fish fed... I was slightly dreading this weird state of seclusion, but in fact it has proved to be quite interesting. I experienced the different aspects that Colette describes; "There are days when solitude is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall."
Fortunately I never reached the head-banging stage, and I did end up finding a strange kind of calm and sanctuary. The hours of solitude were rather heavy at times but led to a certain freedom, far more activity and the desire at least for creativity. This process was reinforced by the untimely demise of the television so I was deprived of that easy-option comfort zone and was spurred further and faster along a solitary and unfamiliar path, with my eyes and ears open to other possibilities. It turned out to be a great experience all round, in fact!
I've had a similar experience with this blog. How can anything have tens of thousands of views and yet seem to hold so little or merely fleeting interest for visitors that almost none want to comment or 'share'? Wow, that's alot of clicking on... and off again! Well, I went from feeling very cyber-lonely, to virtual freaky-weird and now am just comfortably numb to any lingering feelings of loneliness. After all, it's the electronic version of a personal scrap book, not Facebook, even if I had been hoping to come across birds of a feather when I started up. Perhaps I don't belong to any identifiable flock of anything or am a dodo, or have simply been plucked of all feathers. Maybe I've been feathered and tarred as a cyber pariah! Oh well. Either way, I am grateful I haven't attracted any negative attention, and so I can go about my blog business undeterred. This has liberated me from that feeling of emptiness, of lacking something, or missing out and has freed me up again to notice the wealth of beautiful things that are invariably overlooked if you're constantly looking at your feet, peering in the mirror or gazing at your navel. Actually, it is useful to look down sometimes; that's how I came across this Painted Lady butterfly earlier today. Unfortunately it was as dead as a dodo, along with the dragonfly who thoughtfully chose to expire on my doorstep a few years ago.
All this can only be treasure to a roving magpie eye that has rediscovered its focus.
Anyway, this was a great excuse to include the Pink Floyd track with that fantastic guitar solo! This version was put up by OfficialPinkFloyd (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUYzQaCCt2o). Comfortably numb.