Monday, October 18, 2010

The Bliss Of Solitude


The Bliss of Solitude

I tend to get quite a few invitations for dinner whenever The Songwriter is out of town, as he has been this week. People seem to think I will be lonely, or bored, or both.  I appreciate the thought immensely, of course, but I usually decline all offers. 
 There is a yawning chasm that stretches between lonely and alone.  And, while I certainly miss The Songwriter’s lovely presence in the house, these occasional quiet weeks are, for me, a gift to be savoured.  
With my usual schedule now banished,  my heart slows down, down, to a secret beat - one remembered from childhood, only heard in the stillness.
 Ordinary tasks are now more deliberate. 
The prosaic becomes the sublime.
 I polish furniture with a caress, sew on a button with the eye of a seamstress. 
All the windows are flung open, beckoning chilled autumnal breezes into every corner of the cottage and I sit before them, in a favourite sweater, eyes closed, breathing in the fragrances of falling leaves and earth. 
I notice the sound of the acorns that bounce like hailstones off the roof above my head - a veritable feast for the squirrels, falling right out of the skies.   
Questions, complex and impenetrable, are ironed out completely during long conversations with Edward. 
Earl Grey is brewed liberally, and poured from a transferware pot into cups carefully chosen to enhance the mood of the moment - Wedgwood for elevenses, majolica for night.
 I take time to watch, fascinated, as a setting sunbeam shoots through an old crystal cross on my table, baptizing the room with rainbows.
Political news is cast out, replaced by Mozart and Petula Clark.
  Stephen Fry reads me Harry Potter as I stir a cauldron full of soup.
I read and I read.
And knit with red wool.
And sleep soundly.
And dream of Christmas.

Here in the States, we place a high regard on the idea of happiness.  So much so, its pursuit was actually declared an unalienable Right in our country’s Constitution.  However, I have yet to encounter someone who can adequately define the word.  Its definition tends to shift like the light from a prism with each individual I ask.
 One thing I do know, happiness it is not to be found outside of oneself. For it is in the legendary bliss of solitude that it hides, wrapped in contentment, tied up with peace.  It drifts down like snow on the shoulders of the quiet and the still, unaccompanied by any brass band of want or desire - unfettered by bitterness, independent of fear. It sits in the commonplace - in the sweet scent of lavender on a freshly ironed sheet, in the cheerful brown gleam in a white dog’s eye.
I found it waiting for me in a week all alone,
 surrounded by books and dogs, in silence and love.

49 comments:

  1. I think this is going to become my favorite, most precious post of yours, pamela...it speaks to all my heart and soul...thank you so much for sharing such beautiful words.

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  2. Lovely Pamela, a delight to read!
    Thanks as always for your sweet words at my Hermitage :)
    I am learning the ways of missing my Beloved these days as he travels off to study each week. I hope in time to rediscover these joys in solitude that you paint so delicately :)
    xx Rima

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  3. Sometimes I long to have the house to myself for a day or two. I don't think it has ever happened since I've had children. I so understand everything you say here, and yes there is pleasure in getting on with things alone.

    Petula CLark was rather a bolt from the blue, I wonder why I don't have any of her music here - to be remedied.
    Sharon

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  4. Since I live alone with my wonderful Jack Russel Terrier (Eloise) I am often asked if I am lonely. At times, yes is the answer - but most of the time it is in serenity with the most loving of companions. You certainly captured the essence of happiness!
    (Moments in Time)

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  5. Your first commenter Beadbabe has stolen my words. I can only say in all honesty that I feel the same way. This has to be my favourite of all your precious posts.

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  6. Your blissful post on solitude was a balm for my soul today, Pamela. I miss my husband when he leaves on an occasional business trip, but I also relish the time alone for awhile. Maybe it is easier because I know he will be home soon, but, I don't mind it for a short while. I used to tell friends and family, but, find that I don't anymore because I don't really need to go out for dinner or a show or whatever. I'm content to eat what I want, watch Enchanted April, lounge about and do all the wonderful little things your post evokes. Right now, I am content to just sit and watch the sun cast shadows of the falling leaves across my desk. Oh dear, I'm just about written my own post here. Sorry. Lovely, lovely mood you have created. Thank you.

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  7. Hi Pamela this is so close to my heart...solitude, to be able to enjoy just being. Wonderful image.

    I have a Luxurious New Giveaway on my site.... do come and enter!!

    Xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  8. I totally "get" every word you say...nothing like solitude!!!

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  9. Why do I nearly always start off my comments here with the words 'Oh wonderful post, Pamela!', or some such? But truly, each one betters the last, and this post I truly can relate to. Beautifully put. C x

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  10. what is there to say? bliss... yes.

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  11. I so enjoyed reading this beautiful post ~ yes there is a huge difference between alone & lonely & I am going to endeavour to make my alone times more special!
    Thank you Pamela for your sweet words.
    ~Dianne~

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  12. What sweet thoughts gathered like fallen leaves and appreciated singly and collectively. Yes, indeed, happiness is found within. Lovely post.

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  13. Lovely. One of your very best. Thank you. I shall go make myself a cup of tea and think over your words a wee bit more.

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  14. Ahhhhh...

    One of my favorite sayings is, and I'm sorry I don't know who wrote it, "Joy is not in things, it is in us."

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  15. Love all that I have just read, and delight that you have responded to my blog, and I do think we have passed comments before, which I cherished, and now, even more so again;
    Is Edward your furry friend?
    I've had lots, and do still have lots of furry friends, that I visit and sit often.
    My last furry friends who lived in my house, both left 19 years ago, in their time, though I have still not recovered.
    Still, I love your stories and photos of your shaggy friend.
    Thank you so for taking the time to write me!
    Thea

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  16. I really know what you mean ! You describe it in a gorgeous way. We all need some time alone to meet oursleves.

    Have a wonderful day :)

    xo
    Anci

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  17. Happiness to me is being content with life right where it is at the moment. Wonderful post Pamela! A hug to Edward and Apple! XOXO

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  18. I can appreciate the kind of solitude you speak of, made even more precious if found within an otherwise hectic lifestyle. The lonely part comes if it is enforced.

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  19. Wonderful words of wisdom. Thank You!

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  20. Aah yes... in a nut shell. Like you I also miss my man when he is away but oh I do love a dose of solitude once in a while.

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  21. Solitude.....how I love and crave it Pamela. You have stuck a chord with me today. Without the occasional solitary moments I become overwhelmed and 'confined'....Beautiful post, xv.

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  22. Dear Pamela, So many search for happiness and never find it simply because, as you so beautifully write here, it is either in you and the simple pleasures of everyday life, or it will be for ever elusive!

    You are so right that there is an ocean of difference between loneliness and solitude. Being content within oneself is, I agree, the key to happiness.

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  23. Happiness does come from within. Even a spec or atom of happiness will shine in the dark, if one allows.

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  24. I hear you Pamela, solitude can be pure bliss. It always seems to come along when we need it most...like a mini me holiday.
    It sounds like yours has been wonderful.

    Jeanne xxx

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  25. Vivid poetry, a lovely balance..
    Happiness is knowing my soul knows more than my ego...

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  26. I agree Pamela - solitude is a much underrated treasure! Leigh

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  27. Have room for one more? You made it so inviting, perhaps there's a little extra Earl Grey for me?

    I do love my alone time. This is indeed separate from loneliness time, which only ever comes unbidden. If I had a special person in my life I'm sure it would be different. One day.

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  28. Oh...my...yes to be alone is not necessarily lonely. I am alone with my dogs a alot and people assume I am lonely. But I am not. They give me everything I need and my house is full of so many projects and things...I am never bored. I've never seen it written the pleasure of brewing the perfect spot of tea. Oh...Earl Grey...how I love your perfume scent.

    I love your posts...you write like I wish I could. I have those thoughts but can't put them to paper (or rather computer) as you.

    Just lovely.

    I have been going by the other blog to read about Wilf every day. I wish I'd known of this blog before he grew ill. Now I go each day with dread of what might be coming. What a fantastical dog. Too young to be sick. Makes me squeeze my little ones too me more tightly and be thankful for their good health.

    Thanks for telling me about him.

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  29. I envy your solitude and time with books and dog. My life has been insanely busy, but I feel calmer after reading this relaxing post.

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  30. Yes, happiness. I was just pondering this word today - on my birthday- that was spent mostly alone. Content is something I often feel in solitude, happy, I do wonder what flow of emotion through my body that word really describes.... I know joy, excitement, anger, well, the list could go on... but happy? Entwined with contented, I;m sure. Thoughtful, thanks.

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  31. Wow..I'm sooo with you in this post...My husband travels a lot following the music of his band..I cherish the ours when he is with me but also the ours when I'm alone..Magical things happen when I'm alone...:) There are mice dancing on the table,and pixies in the sugarbowl..

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  32. We must have similar souls cuz I can relate to your eloquent post very well. The enjoyment of solitude, reflection, attention to details, contemplation, day dreaming, things most people don't dare talk about or admit to others. Im glad you did... now I don't feel so alone in my solitude.

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  33. I have always relished, and needed solitude...it is so hard to get at certain times of life. This is one of my favorite posts that you have written Pamela...it speaks to me:)

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  34. I really thin silence is the key, Pamela. We lead such busy lives that often we don't have the space to enjoy the simple things. Lovely post and so true.

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  35. I had always treasured the days/weeks that were all mine when Mr.24 used to travel extensively. He was dearly missed but, there IS something about having your home and time to yourself...to truly enjoy the moments that you so beautifully expressed...they are precious, and refreshing to the soul & spirit.
    You captured those feeling so well and in such a lovely way...thank you. xo J~

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  36. beautiful post Pamela...i so loved my solitary life (which is on hold at the moment because of sick parents)...finding it hard to come to terms with and fight the bitterness that sometimes errupts...your post left me serene and 'happy'..i love that your teacup design reflects the time of day...perfect!!xx

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  37. Oh my, what an exquisite piece. I have happily lurked on your blog for a while now. Just wanted to tell you that your writing is absolutely delightful and always stirs my soul. Pure poetry....Strangely enough, I've found that some of my greatest epiphanies happen when I'm alone. It doesn't happen very often these days, but when it does I welcome/relish it!

    Hillhouse Ramblings

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  38. Pamela, this is truly lovely. Your writings are so magical to me and make my heart happy.
    xx, shell

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  39. Pamela, I love everything you write, but this post is my favorite. There is a vast difference between loneliness and alone. I am so happy to learn you've enjoyed your days.

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  40. I think this is one of the most beautiful posts I've ever read, from anyone. Thank you. Your imagery is stunning, and your philosophy is impossible to refute. Solitude and serenity...perfect partners.

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  41. Dear Pamela, that was a wonderful read, as always. I love being alone too, but I'm never lonely. I think it's very important to be happy with your own company. I love the thought of Stephen reading to you as you stir your cauldron of soup xx

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  42. wise words indeed, the Kingdom of Heaven is within.

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  43. What a beautiful post, so full of details and imagery...

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  44. I am having one of those weeks now and am happy and contented. Though I was the fifth child, I was always a loner, on my back in a meadow watching the clouds or by a brook listening to its song or just watching sunbeams playing with friendly dust motes.
    I enjoy my own company, the freedom from being at anyones beck and call.
    You put it all so beautifully as though you had drawn it straight out of my heart.

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I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!