A lifetime or two ago, when I was a youth, I remember listening to the song, The Sound of Silence sung by Simon and Garfunkel. My son introduced me to the same song performed by Disturbed. How could the same song sound so different? I actually love Disturbed version.
You would think that I would be accustomed to this, especially since much of it is self imposed. With the exception of the radio playing loudly in the other room, the house is silent. Empty. My son is at work, and visitors, are few. I’ve all but stopped offering invitations. They are acknowledged, some are accepted, but so few actually show. So why speak the words? I would never turn anyone away, should they appear, my door is open. Coffee always on or easily made. The ingredients for a batch of cookies near the stove. But I won’t invite, not as I once did anyway.
My kitchen table now, is merely a piece of furniture waiting for what ever mail comes, for my purse or the receipts from the latest purchase. Its been weeks since anyone sat there. I move the chairs around to sweep and mop, then return them to their place. I have a cabinet shelf filled with coffee mugs that go unused. I have one that I prefer and that I use exclusively.
My living room, is the space that connects one end of the house to the other. A room only passed through, otherwise unused. The only one who uses the furniture, is the cat. Cricket moves from spot to more comfortable spot. One moment on the back of the couch, the next curled up among the pillows. I did turn the television on when I was dismantling the artificial Christmas tree back in December. Other than that, it hasn’t seen use.
Once the weather decides to turn off warm and remain there, I will be outside anyway. I’ll sit on the front porch, pushing the dogs out of the way. Sitting and watching the vehicles passing much too quickly on a dirt road with blind curves. I’ll watch neighbors visiting each other and listening to the music the renters in the last apartment makes. I’ll listen to the one I have dubbed Thumper for his car speakers thumping that heavy bass. The lady up on the main road will be calling and whistling for her dog yet again. The neighbor’s kids will be outside playing as kids should.
I’ll sit in the swing out back. Watching the birds, watching the trees sway to the breeze, listening to the sounds. I’ll built a small bon fire in the store bought fire pit as the evening falls. Alone I will sit there and watch the flames. I’ll listen to the sounds of the burning wood. I’ll listen to the music that comes from the woods, the crickets, the bullfrog in the pond, the night birds singing, the owl in the distance calling. I’ll do this alone. I have created this life, it is mine to live.
I’m sitting here now, glancing out the window at the dark, unhappy sky as the still bare trees sway in the wind. A dance of one trapped in the circumstances in which the find themselves. Is it a dance in the wake created by Winter’s retreat or Spring’s approach? I cannot help but believe, it is the concerns over the weather and the possibility of rain that has kept me indoors.
Otherwise I would be making my way along the creek. Photographing what I find along the way. Attempting to capture the sights of the return of a favored season. Colors of various hues peeking up from the forest floor, dancing on the ends of stalks, breaking free of the confined buds of winter’s cold.
Even the cats are nowhere to be seen. I imagine they have found somewhere dry and warm to sleep through this latest bout of cool air. If they are under the house they are at least for the moment getting along as I’ve heard no fighting. They aren’t wandering about because my two dogs are lounging on the front porch, quiet and from appearances half asleep themselves.
It is this feeling of being trapped, stuck inside when there is a huge world out there waiting. That is what creates this melancholy within. When I am hiking, it doesn’t matter if I am alone.I prefer the solitary walks, just me and my dog Bella. Nature in its beauty wraps around my heart and distracts my head from any trace of loneliness. My stubbornness mutters who needs ’em, even as my self imposed solitude is content in this number of one.
The moments when my thoughts wander toward missing the sound of the voice of another, my heart sniffs with indignation. If one wanted to speak to you, they would. Walk away and don’t look back. One’s feelings do not get wounded when you walk alone. I am glad, those moments are rare. If I miss the sound of the voice of another, I can go to a big box store and wander about.
Today though, I will remain here, seeking the strength, finding the peace, of solitude. Should the sky clear and the winds ease, I will find my shoes and camera and make my way into the woods. I will find the solace that waits there. I will watch the waters dance about on the rocks. I’ll find the shoots of plants as they break free of their winter rest and reach for the sky. I’ll climb the hill and walk the paths-alone. Because that is my preference and peace, found there in the silence of nature.
Besides, this time of solitude, when I may be physically alone, I am never spiritually alone. That I know, in that knowledge is my peace and comfort.