Image by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash
I love David Whyte’s Poetry and Writings.
I love David Whyte’s voice and the way he reads his Work.
I love how he turns words over, how he massages formerly unnoticed meanings out of them.
How he carves then places jewels in everyday words, so that you cannot help but become more intentional and attentive in how you use them going forward.
I love how he reveals and reveres the ordinary and the extraordinary in everyday words.
And then, I love that I get to sprinkle my own jewels into these everyday words.
I have been listening to David’s latest book, “Consolations”. In it, he takes everyday words, explores them in the uniquely philosophically poetic (or is it poetically philosophical?) style. Over the weeks and months that I have been listening to his micro-essays, I have sometimes wanted to write into the words myself.
So here goes with his first word, Alone, and what “Alone” means to me today. Literally today. Not generically in my life post-losses. Not even in 2022 as a whole. But today, Saturday 1st October 2022. Right here, right now, as I sit stretched out on the sofa. Silver the Cat sleeping on Julia’s soft burgundy blanket, head nudging my left elbow. and Black the Dog sleeping, snoring contentedly, between my feet, on another blanket.
It’s a properly Autumnal day. Cool, wet, misty. Heavenly-to-me weather. Right weather for the time of year. And, other than my four-legged companions, I am alone at home.
Actually, this is most often the case for me. But it’s unusual for a Saturday. Medjool is not around today, though we will see each other later tonight. I am not Alone for long. I have even been in the company of multiple human beans already today, having been swimming with the Master’s club.
But I am unusually alone on a Saturday day. And much as I love my weekends with Medjool, I am so glad to be alone. I don’t have enough alone time. Despite living alone. How odd is that?
All week I have been coveting my empty Saturday with anticipatory pleasure. Practically licking my lips at the deliciousness of having unstructured hours unfurling in front of me. Hours in which to read. To write. To play the piano. To bake. To walk the dog. To stretch. Yes, still hours in which to “do” things– because I am somewhat a do-er. But doing things I don’t do enough in the week in my down-time. And most definitely not doing “jobs”. Not filling my precious alone time with things that are “on the list of big jobs” (for I do have such a list). But doing things that bring me pleasure, calm, solace, fulfilment, nurturance.
Being alone but not feeling lonely.
Being alone when I don’t have to be alone for (too) long.
Not so much alone because of the company of my warm mammals.
A backdrop of gentle music.
Wrapped in soft blankets.
Feeling the heat of my dog warming me through, drying my damp feet.
Cosy and comfy after being in the wet and misty outdoors.
Making choices as to how I shape my aloneness.
Crafting my own virtuoso way of being alone
An aspired-for achievement, and not a state to which I have been condemned. (*)
I am utterly conscious of how lucky I am that this is how I experience Aloneness. If only today.
It might not be this way, and I might not be so lucky.
To experience being Alone as a precious time-bound space filled with jewels, and not sensing that I might drown in Loneliness.
Lucky, lucky me.
(*) Words in italics are lifted from David Whyte’s own piece.