Thursday, May 29, 2008

Meadow lark

Where I want to be
Richmond Hill, ON, August 2007 [Click to embiggen]

Maybe it's the writer in me, but I cherish periods of peace and quiet. I hope you don't think I'm antisocial when I say that I often look forward to being alone. Not all the time, of course - I think I'd go insane - but an occasional break from our hurry-up-and-hurry-some-more world is a nice way to restore balance.

Getting away is usually a simple proposition for me: I get on my bike, point it toward the edge of town and keep spinning my legs until I no longer hear the traffic. Often, I'll seek out places just like the one in the photo above. I'll park the velo and spend a few minutes just absorbing the silence of the place. These are the times when I can actually hear myself think.

Before long, I have to return to reality, of course. But there's always a next time.

Your turn: How do you get away? What do you learn about yourself when you do?


lissa said...

When I need to be alone, I go to the lake at Centennial Park. It's where I'd go each evening, the last month my mom was in the hospital, and I needed to be somewhere between hospital and the sounds of home. I'd sit by the lake and watch the sun set (it was June-July) and watch the ducks and their babies frolick in the waning evening. I'd pretty much stay there till closing, despite darkness and probable unsafe conditions.

Now, it's where I go. I go there when I need to be alone, I go there when I need to feel my mother. I take my iPod (back then, it was my Discman) and either read while listening to music, listen to an audio book, or just take pictures - sometimes mental pictures, sometimes with my camera.

Often, I am "visited" by a heron or two, and the ducks provide smiles and company. It's a place in the middle of the busy suburb where I feel like I'm in a marsh all alone with Nature. It's peaceful, refreshing, and rejuvenating.

Sometimes I bring writing and work on pieces in progress or start new ones. Sometimes I just ponder. I'm not sure I learn much about myself except that I am good company and solitude is not a bad thing.

There are other "alone" places for me - less accessible. The lookout on Mount Royal. The Pointe Claire Yacht Club (daytime, mid-week) where I can sit and watch the boats, or anywhere along the Lakeshore where I watch the water and listen to it lapping at the shore.

Mostly, I try to let my mind wander free of the day's events, and try to let myself free associate. Sometimes I just reminisce.

The thing I learn most is that everyone NEEDS time alone. I'm alone in the house when everyone's at work and school/camp, but that's not the same; it's taking that time to go alone, be somewhere outside one's reality.

Julia Cameron ("The Artist's Way") suggests an artist's date once a week. I should start taking those again. I've done museums, country roads, photo shoots, galleries, boutiques... There's a whole wide world out there to take myself to...

Lengthily yours,

kenju said...

That's the kind of place I'd like to be in right now, Carmi. It looks peaceful.

When I want to get away, and I can't take a vacation or be gone long, I get into my car and go grab a bite to eat and read a book, with no cell phone or radio! It is an indulgence I look forward to several times a week.

Expat Mom said...

With two small kids, I don´t get away much at all. My alone time comes when my hubby is off playing a gig at night and the kids are asleep. Then I curl up on the couch with my sewing things and watch Supernatural DVDs. ;)

(and, yes, you can add me to your blogroll. :D Thanks!)

Sassy Mama Bear said...

Often I find peace not alone but when we are out fishing as a family. I also like to go out in the woods and camp, nothing more peaceful than surrounding myself with nature to ground myself.

Babystepper said...

Getting away doesn't happen very much here, but I don't think I'd like it if it did.

I just can't do solitude. I bore myself. Really.

colleen said...

My favorite thing is to stay home alone and send everyone else out. I like to putter from thing to thing and have no real plan. For every two hours with people, I need four alone.

Barb said...

Since moving from the city to the country I get a lot more peace and quiet, especially the nights. But my mental escape has always been in books, and what better "candy store" than Barnes and Noble. I now live 40 miles from the nearest BN so visits are less often, but longer and more expensive! I was just there today and left my fingerprints on many more books than I actually brought home.

Like Lissa, I am a student of Julia Cameron but haven't been doing the weekly artist's dates. With the beauty of nature here I need to get back to the weekly dates just to explore the lakes and canyons of the Ozarks. A day on the lake with a good book and some tunes would be my idea of Heaven!