all alone

by bam

psst. don’t tell. i am hardly suffering.
by odd accident of circumstances–namely a road trip with daddy, a road trip to akron, ohio, of all places (tire city, i love you)–i am, for the first time in, ahem–this is pathetic, i know, i know–probably a good 10 years, home alone.
i mean all day, all night, all by myself.
no, really, i just checked. tiptoed around to all the beds. not a one was occupied. not even the lumpy old cat is curled up on someone’s pillow. he’s out terrorizing the neighborhood.
it’s just me. me alone, sunup to sundown.
how do you spell hallelujah loudly?
oh, excuse me. i was getting giddy. which is what happens when you are occupying an existence of which you have only dreamt.
you know those days when fists are clenched on the wheel, and you are driving madly from a to b to z, and someone in the back seat is whimpering, and the list of things to do is getting longer not shorter, like some bad dream where you cannot get to where you need to be, like you are stuck on an escalator to nowhere, and you are wishing like anything the whole world would go away and leave you all alone.
well, holy hallelujah, it appears it did. leave me alone, i mean.
the last time i remember being more or less home alone was nearly seven years ago for maybe four or five days, the morning after i found out that i was mysteriously, suddenly pregnant at nearly 44. (okay, so it wasn’t totally mysterious, but given my track record in the reproduction department it was a big fat “huh?”)
that certainly didn’t count as home alone, not technically, and not psychologically, i assure you.
but this time, there are no mysterious underpinnings to the aloneness. there is no mystery at all, other than what took so long for this to happen.
oh, yeah, what happened is that mysterious pregnancy turned into a little boy who is only just now old enough to trot along with his papa and his big brother, and we don’t need to worry about an extra pair of hands in the back seat keeping him amused while the papa courses through america, via high-speed interstate.
so here i am indulging in that sacred meditative state called the only one who is interrupting my thoughts is me, with another thought, coming in on another runway.
for a soul hardwired for solitude in ample doses, you might imagine this has been one long dry spell. an arid season for my very essence, indeed.
it’s why, perhaps, i sleep so little. i stay up late to be alone. i wake up early to snatch another dose. it might not be good for the portions of the brain that crave non-REM, but you do what you have to, don’t you?
there are those of us who simply need a little calm, a little quiet to plug back in. we disconnect to reconnect. we wall off our selves. we build cocoons. we curl up in a psychic ball and listen for our wings to sprout.
then we’re up and running. taking on the world with everything we’ve got.
but we only get what we’ve got the pull-in, plug-in way. we guard our all-alone time. we are downright stingy, sometimes.
it’s not that we don’t like all-day-all-night company. it’s not that we don’t appreciate a diner with a neon “open” sign flashing through the wee, wee hours.
it’s just that we cannot be a place that slings its hash, pours its bottomless pots o’ joe, round-the-clock, 24-7.
we are human souls. we need rhythms. we need yin with yang. reflection on the underside of giving.
it’s why some folks garden. and others swim. i have done my share of both.
to catch the solitary buzz of being on your knees in dirt, entranced by caterpillar climbing on the poppy. or watching how the delphinium turns its head toward sunbeam.
or diving in the dappled light as it hits the blue bottom of the pool. hearing nothing but the sound of your own palm, pulling back the water. listening to some inner story unspool as you flip and turn and glide, again, through chilly waters.
i do believe that we were made not to drink in noise around the clock. not to have some wires in our ears, even as we wend our way through the grocery aisles.
i believe, perhaps, that God gave us legs so we could go off, and find our solitude. and our solace.
and then, always, we return. but what we’ve discovered, off in the woods, off in our thoughts, is that bit of self, that bit of who we are, that we can only know if we are hushed. if we are listening.
we cannot listen to the sacred whispers in the middle of a crowd. we need air to breathe, to fill our lungs. we need alone–a noun, a state of being–to fill our souls.
at least i do.
and as i listen to the sound of just a clock ticking, and my own wiggling in this chair, i am breathing in a something so essential, so pure, i am quite certain it is the breath of God, filling every blessed chamber of my being.

do you crave alone? is it essential to your wholeness? when did you first discover your deep hunger for time alone? do you remember? how, now, do you carve out a sacred place and time to be still, to hush the world around you, so you too can feel the warm soft blowing in of God’s own breath?

p.s. lazily, the lazy susan was restocked over the weekend. filled with bird bits, and cobblers, and cool, minty ice waters. and terra, too. always terra. our blessed farm writer. take a spin. you’ll be refreshed.