about being alone

there was a small space between my childhood bed and the window.  i remember sitting in that sheltered place playing.  alone.  no one could see me from the doorway.  the bed skirt went all the way to the floor.  i must have spent hours there imagining.  sometimes i played barbies.  sometimes i sulked.  i attempted journal entries.  i stared up and out the window at the large maple tree that formed my view.  i read books for hours on the small couch near the kitchen.  the couch was behind a half wall and i felt insulated.  as soon as i could drive i went for walks in the forest.  alone.  i was happy to.  no one forced to me be alone.  i had sweet friends to play with.  but i always returned to solo adventures.

i am alone right now.  i have been mostly alone since monday evening.  it is wednesday now.  the girls return in a few hours.

i know alone as a small space between sharing myself with my children and my boyfriend and my students and my customers.  i do not know alone for weeks or years or decades.  i do not know how that might be.  what i do know is that this small space between, this time with me, is awesome.  i am not sure what i like most about it.  but i do enjoy the “quiet”.  (which is funny because i tend to talk a lot!)  i enjoy “small things”.  the simplicity of taking out the garbage in the early early morning.  cutting my small lawn at dusk.  filling the bird feeder to overflowing.  it is a freedom.  and sometimes a peace.  to choose when and where and how.  it is like swimming naked in soft lake water.

sometimes my friends are jealous.  they want to be alone too.  or they think they do.  and i understand.   (or i think i do!)  perhaps not everyone needs to be divorced to find this kind of time.  and maybe i shouldn’t tell them that this time comes with a flip side.  maybe i shouldn’t joke that it is my perk.  but that is what i think.  i was given something bitter and something sweet.  and all these years later it still feels that way.  bitter and sweet like dandelion and raspberry.  maybe one is not more medicinal than the other.

when i am alone now i like to vacuum.  and take photographs of flowers.  i like picking salad from my backyard and eating it with pesto.  i like sitting in the sun.  i prefer to stay home, read a book, and get up early.

i love people.  i love strangers.  my family.  my boyfriend.  my friends.  i love my ex-husband.  and his parents.  we are all interesting and quirky.  we are confusing.  beautiful and utterly devastating.  we are everything.  i love people watching.  i love sitting close.  i like eavesdropping.  and sharing stories with shop keepers.

but it is clear to me now that i am restored by solitude.  i am brought back to existence.  this is why i have been longing to rest in that space between my bed and the window.  and even if i close my eyes i will enjoy the view of the linden tree flowering.

because everything changes and solitude transforms into familial wildness; and i continue to dance in all the ways a mother dances.

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