Solitude is something I forget the importance of until I have little of it. I am used to spending lots of time on my own, pondering, thinking, daydreaming, planning, figuring things out. In the silent spaces my mind is busy. I have spent time in close quarters with my family these past few days, in a lovely little town in St Helens, on the East coast of Tasmania. It is a town of about 3,000 people in the low season.
Close by is the Bay of Fires a beautiful beach with picturesque white sand and clear clean sea. I came here often when I was a child, to visit my grandmother. I have snap shots memories of the beach, walking down the Main Street, the antique shops and weekend market. I see pictures in my mind of the short walk to the peer where the fisherman catch crays. The town is quiet but the RSL is very busy on the weekend. The weekly meat raffle, the pub meals, and the pokey machines, bright and flashing and enticing for the locals and tourists. My beautiful Nana passed away a few months ago, and yesterday we scattered her ashes in Beauty Bay, St Helens. I found boxes of creative bits and pieces in her cupboards at her house, and am reminded that my nana also knew the power of creativity. She would spend hours making flower ribbons and delicate decorations even years after she spent her days as a young woman as the head of the gift wrapping department in Myer department stores.
Of course I brought my pens and paints and pencils with me to Tassie. I received a new note book for Christmas to begin creating as the year transitions.
I sat on the beach today at the Bay of fires, and became present to the sounds and sights around me and sensations within me. I sat there with gratitude for the silence, allowing me to be with the sound of the ocean. Solitude is only acknowledged when there is a comparison. If there was no connection to others, then solitude may feel more like loneliness. Because there is connection and closeness, the solitude is a welcomed polarity. The balance of the two helps me to centre myself. I feel if I spent long periods with others I want time after to be still, silent and not speak or socialise. There are some people I feel I can still be in the same space with and have space. I am also wondering if the more I create space within myself the less it will matter what happens outside.
This is what I wrote while sitting on the beach.
“Let the crashing waves heal me, from the liquid insides of this human body. The smell of salt, the feel of the fine white sand. The wind and waves mixed together with the distant sounds of kids laughter. Over and over and over again the waves crash. A mix of immense power and slow gentle bubbling froth. I am challenged to the core by the sensitivity I feel, sometimes it comes out of me as a crashing wave, and I can’t contain it. It is balanced by the soothing repetition of the contrasting gentle and powerful waves, the combination of stillness and movement.”