The Mind of Bluesleepy

Right up the inside 26 February 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — bluesleepy @ 10:20 pm

57: Dark vs. light

Over on her site, CardioGirl posed the following question: “Would you enjoy spending a month of solitude in a beautiful natural setting? Food and shelter would be provided but you would not see another person.”  She put a few restrictions on the solitude — no internet, no cell phone, no radio, no tv.  No electronics, even!  That part might be a wee bit difficult for me.  I guess that includes my digital camera, which would make me sad.  But if she’d let me take it, plus several SD cards for data storage, I would be a happy camper.  If not, I’ve still got my dad’s old 35mm Minolta.  Either way, I’m taking a camera with me.

Yes, folks, I would relish the solitude.  Several of her posters pointed out that they need a break from the hectic life that is parenting children.  For me, that’s got very little to do with it.  Right now, I’m able to get away from the kids and hang out with adults whenever it strikes my fancy, since my husband is more than willing to take over parenting duties.  Having toddlers is totally different from having teenagers too.  For the most part, Grace isn’t very mouthy (and ME doesn’t even talk yet!), and whatever activities they’re signed up for are the ones I’ve decided on.  They’re not coming home and telling me that they’ve signed up for yet another after-school activity for which I will have to employ Mom’s taxi service.

[Here’s a little aside — why do parents have to provide transportation all the time now?  I have known several parents who do not trust the school buses, which I find a little… odd.  In fact, I have been called upon to supply Mom’s taxi service to those children at times, when I don’t even have school-age kids!  When I was in school, I walked to and from elementary school by myself by the time I was 4, or I rode the bus starting in the 5th grade.  And if I had to stay after school, I either walked home, took the activity bus, or bummed a ride from my friends’ parents.  The one time I couldn’t get a ride home from school, when I got a bogus detention in the 6th grade, both my parents had to come home early from work that day, as they carpooled together to the Navy base.  That was such an uncomfortable experience that I never again asked for a ride home from my parents.]

So my life isn’t so hectic that I need an escape.  I simply enjoy being by myself.  I always have been a solitary soul.  Growing up in northern  Virginia after my dad got custody of us, there were few kids of my age close to my house.  They all lived outside my allowable biking radius.  Books were my friends instead.  In fact, my mom would bug me to go outside to play, so I would just take my book and sit under the sugar maples and read as the sunlight filtered through the tree’s leaves.  Yes, I do have siblings — but my sister was five grades ahead of me in school, so when I was still playing with dolls she was interested in boys.  There was just nothing we had in common as kids.  When my brother came home, I was already  ten years old, so there was even more of a gap.  In a lot of ways, I grew up feeling like an only child, though I am actually the middle kid.

But in the ninth grade, when we were living in Nebraska, I became a social butterfly.  Part of that was because I needed to get out of my house.  It was a very stressful time for my family, and my parents have never handled stress well.  I decided to make myself scarce, and it was then I began to blossom into a more socially active person.  It was nice for a while, but the years went on, and I began to realize that not everyone who acts like a friend to your face is really a true friend.  That became painfully clear during college, so after graduation I walled myself off to some degree and began to nurture my solitude.

And then we moved to Washington state in the spring of 2003.  Two weeks after we moved into our house, Kurt left for what ultimately was a seven-month deployment to the Middle East, though we had no idea at the time how long he would be gone.  I didn’t have a job, and since I had just moved 3000 miles from my comfort zone, I had no family or friends to occupy me.  Amazingly enough, this was before I had such a support system over the internet, so I was really and truly alone for much of the time.  I spent a lot of time watching tv, of course, but I read a lot, and I walked the dog a lot, and I even spent a fair amount of time just sitting on the hill in my backyard, letting the sun wash over me and enjoying the shapes the clouds made in the sky.

A whole month to myself, then?  No contact with the outside world?  I could handle that.  Personally I would like a cabin in the woods by a pond, preferably with a stream so I can hear the movement of the water.  Each day I’ll leave a note on the fence with the food I’ll need for the next day, and some mysterious person will deliver my goods for the day.  I’ll read book after book after book, and I’ll get back into writing long-hand as well.  I’ll even take my stitching with me and finally finish the birth sampler I started when my best friend gave birth to her son two and a half years ago.

A month later I’ll emerge with a better understanding of myself and how I fit into this world.  And that can’t possibly be a bad thing.

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6 Responses to “Right up the inside”

  1. cocoabean Says:

    I would go too! I could easily handle a month alone, as long as I had books to read.

  2. purple chai Says:

    I think I would go stir-crazy. I don’t know if I could even do that for an afternoon.

    I too walked to and from elementary school. Our town has no busing at all, and so my father would drop me and my friends off at both junior high and high school on his way to work, because these schools were pretty far. But we always walked home, never took a bus, and rarely finagled a ride from anyone. My walk was the longest, and I remember thinking back then — around 1970 — that I wish I could listen to music while I walked. But there weren’t even walkmans then, let alone iPods!

  3. Miss Hiss Says:

    Sounds like my life! (When J’s away and the power’s out and the generator needs refuelling…) I have spent more than a month here on my own, seeing another person only twice a week (the mailman — and then only very briefly), and I loved it. But I also had electricity (most of the time, except during outages), telephone and two-way radios for emergencies, satellite TV, refrigerators and freezers and pantries full of food, and lots of critters to talk to. I’ve also spent a month here during major flooding, cut off from everything, without electricity or fresh food, and with the telephone down, and with no contact with anyone else except my husband. (And the critters, of course.) Except for the fact that J and I gave each other a LOT of space by the end of it (AND that he was licking his lips a lot while eyeing off my pet pig and pet sheep and pet geese), it was actually fun. I read (and re-read) a lot of books, became very inventive with canned and dried food (thank goddess for those monster jars of pasta and pulses and rice on my pantry shelves!), showered under the drainpipes, used up all my candles and generally lived like a pioneer frontier woman — or a hippie on a very sparsely-populated commune. (And, of course, I knew we wouldn’t run out of water. It was lying all around us over tens of thousands of acres, at least three feet high!) Love, R xxx

  4. poolagirl Says:

    I would definitely love a month of solititude. I had hoped to own a sailboat one day and do just that. Up until now, those plans haven’t materialized.

  5. terri t. Says:

    I could live like that as long as I had books to read and some food. Oh wait, I DO live like that! Well, husband is around and wanders into my space several times a day and I do drive to the library and grocery store but otherwise…I might as well be a hermit!

  6. cardiogirl Says:

    You bring up an interesting point regarding ferrying kids about today versus a while ago. I definitely did not do any sort of after school activities, however, I did walk home alone from school.

    I am positive I was walking the three blocks to elementary school alone by second grade because every day — for a while — a punk in third grade named Eddie LaVoy chased me down and beat the crap out of me.

    He did that until my mom sent my brother (who was in tenth grade at the time) with me to scare Eddie. It was awesome.

    My brother threatened to rip Eddie’s nose off his face and throw it into the mailbox that was sitting next to Eddie during the confrontation.

    Talk about sweet revenge. Eddie never touched me again after that.

    What’s the point here? I know I was walking home alone by second grade and besides the episode with Eddie it all worked out just fine.

    I do drive my kids all over the place because their school and friends’ houses are all over the place with busy roads (speed limit 35 to 50 mph) to cross. No chance they’re walking home from school alone.


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