It was so wonderful leaving work today and it still being light. The sun set as I walked home and made the journey that little bit more lovely.
Things quickly returned to ‘normal’ after the magical disruption at the beginning of last week – so much so that it already feels like a far off time. The snow was replaced by rain, and while it made the journey to and from work gloomy it did mean that I could hear the rain pattering against the window as I lay in bed last night. I absolutely love that, and I fondly remembered one Saturday afternoon last year when I lay on my bed and watched the rain falling in the garden outside for what felt like hours.
This caused me to think about how much of ourselves is hidden from the people around us. All those moments where we are entirely alone and not defined by how we interact with others. I tend to greatly enjoy being alone, and a lot of the time I would say that I prefer it. Not because of any misanthropy – I enjoy spending time with many people and find few pleasures greater than meeting new ones. It is in solitude, however, that I feel most relaxed, comfortable and creative. There are no expectations, no efforts to be made. No wearing faces. I remember being deeply affected by ‘Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man’ at university and have always recalled this quote from it:
“I do not fear to be alone or to be spurned for another or to leave whatever I have to leave. And I am not afraid to make a mistake, even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake and perhaps as long as eternity too.”
Of course there was a large degree of affected student angst and romantic notions of being an archly distant artist at work; I would say that now I understand the value of relationships (of all kinds) far more and would never seek to divest them. That is different, however, from having a fear of being alone. I think that fear causes terrible damage to people.
I find it fascinating to think of the people I know when they are completely alone and undistracted. Who they are in those moments, what they think of and what they feel. To come even close to understanding this about another person is a level of intimacy which is rarely achieved, but which I think makes for the most special relationships.More special, still, when this is an intimacy shared between two people happy alone, but perhaps happier still when together.