With An Teaglach gone to Old Home, I've been spending a great deal of time by myself.
It's interesting to hear the reactions of others. They seem to fall into one of two categories: either I'm out living it up or I'm incredibly lonely. While option 1 sounds exciting and option 2 sounds depressing, the reality is that neither one is particularly true.
Solitude is not something that frightens on either of two levels. On the first level, it does not frighten me as being without things to do - in this modern age with electronic items and books and writing and 10 projects I always seem to be needing to see to, I hardly find myself at a true loss for something to do.
It's on the second level that it become more interesting, however: the thought of facing long periods of time by one's self.
It's interesting to me that some people cannot deal with the true concept of being alone. I'm not sure whether it's the concept of having no-one around or the more profound concept of coming face to face with your own self, but it seems alarming to many people. Perhaps it is the fear that in being alone, I'll have to start thinking for myself. Perhaps it is the fear that in being alone, I'll have to deal with the thoughts that start to come bubbling to the surface, things that get submerged beneath the incoming tide of daily dealing with people.
Perhaps it is the fear that I'll simply have to think.
Solitude for me is a time to find my bearings, to think deeply on things, to take the time to do the things that I believe are important but somehow convince myself are not important enough to deal with in my usual life. Solitude for me is not an enemy but an old friend, a place retreat to and find strength the face the world.
All solitude ends of course, and I'll not be sorry to see this one go for the reason that I miss The Ravishing Mrs. TB and Na Clann. I'll see them, hear their stories, and become re-immersed in that bustle and general noise level that constitutes my family life.
But inside, part of me will be waiting for the next chance that I have to re-engage with the gentle silence of solitude.