Friday, October 17, 2008


Originally uploaded by rod lewis
Solitude is a very important condition for me. I get so very little of it. Truly, I believe we live in a society that is increasingly terrified of solitude, and those of us who are fueled by it, find it increasingly difficult to come by. Those who are terrified, need us to protect them from it. Imagine protecting someone else from the thing you need the most
I certainly didn’t expect to get any solitude on my trip with Molly – that was obviously not the point of the trip – but the 6 mile hike, the 14 degree nighttime temp, and jetlag had taken their toll on Molly by campfire time on Sunday evening. As a result, I found myself tucking her into her cozy sleeping bag beneath the full moon, pulling the drawstring up around her face, and sitting by the fire alone from quite early in the evening.
Given an unexpected gift of time to parse the trip and the day’s events, I sat quietly in an attempt to think the thoughts that I’d put on hold – even for weeks. I
said a prayer of thankfulness for time to think, and set about thinking. After about an hour of quiet interrupted only by coyotes howling at the rising full moon, I realized that I had thought not a single thought for quite some time. I searched my short-term memory and found the most recent thought – I hope Molly’s not cold. I whispered through the tent door to ask her, and upon getting no response, returned to the fire and promptly resumed thinking no thoughts.
When eventually thoughts returned, I thought it odd that I spend so much time wishing I could simply empty my head long enough to put things in order. I think it would be like cleaning the garage – take everything out onto the driveway, and then put it back neatly and orderly, discarding everything that is no longer needed. That is a fantasy of mine (both mentally, and the garage!), but I was so taken aback by the experience when it actually happened. Grateful, mind you, but surprised.