On Friday I headed into the city after school.  It was a time of solitude and calm wandering.  I headed straight for my favourite coffee shop for a concentrated Americano (or a slightly dilute espresso depending on your half full/half empty perspective).  I slowly browsed my favourite second hand book store, the smell of old books piled as if in some giant game of kerplunk made me feel strangely relaxed.  After the books I went shopping for essential work wear; suits.  My current suits seem to be getting a little tired and threadbare. After a while of enjoying the solitude I began to miss people.  I wanted to head home to see the lovely Sharon and the little man, and on the way home I missed the banter of my car sharing friends.  For me, solitude is a strange thing.  I sometimes feel the need for it, and when I find it I enjoy the loneliness and instantly feel the desire to share it.  This seems contradictory, and it is.  It is similar to the strange relaxed feeling I get in the mountains.  While in the mountains looking after groups it often calls for remote supervision.  On these occasions I find moments between meeting the groups at catch points and I am on my own, and at these times I feel truly relaxed.  However, when I head into the mountains with no other purpose other than my own solitude, I do not feel so relaxed.  I rush to achieve a summit or a goal and am not happy until it is done and I am on my way home.

So, I am not a person that is truly relaxed with solitude.  I am a pretender who wants to run away from people then quickly stop and shout, “come here to see this”.  All these words I have written in this post can be summed up in the Rilke poem ‘Pathways’ that says it all more clearly.  For me it is more of a mantra than poetry;

Understand, I’ll slip quietly

away from the noisy crowd

when I see the pale

stars rising, blooming, over the oaks.

I’ll pursue solitary pathways

through the pale twilit meadows,

with only this one dream:

You come too.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

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