Friday, June 14, 2013

The Nature of Solitude...

We should remember that loneliness is the pain of being alone,
 yet solitude is the splendor of being alone, and that to have long-lasting
 happiness we should remember the difference in between.

- Arzu Kaya Uranli 

   When I recently told some friends that I planned to spend two weeks alone in a stone cottage deep in the Wicklow mountains of Ireland they responded: "Won't you be lonely?"  It got me thinking about the nature of solitude and how so many people are uncomfortable being alone.
The Solitary Boat
    As a contemplative photographer, I thrive on solitude.  In fact, if I am traveling with other people I find it nearly impossible to practice my craft.  I often excuse myself and head out on my own.  You can't do contemplative photography in a group!  When I led my contemplative stroll in Concord this Spring I struggled with the idea of leading 15 people into the landscape as a group.  I, instead, created a little field journal of guided meditations that they could take off on their own and I let them walk where they wanted...I returned to the farmhouse.  I wasn't abandoning them, I was letting them relate to the landscape through their own senses, not mine.

   Here on Cape Cod, while my companion headed off for her day of painting, I was able to seek out the solitary places in this lovely landscape.  Her experience in her workshop is so different from the solitary nature of contemplative photography.  The students were there to learn the techniques of another artist and it was best nurtured in this group environment.  Everyone had a similar goal.  These types of workshops are an exclusively external process whereas contemplative photography is a completely internal process.

     Being just a bit ahead of the "summer crowd" and visiting during the week and not on the hectic weekend, it was not hard to find these quiet places.  One tiny boat bobbed in the tranquil water and the only sound was the far off cry of the gulls.  Somehow, the little boat added to my sense of solitude.  I urge you to set aside some time each week to practice the fine art of solitude and silence.  Nurture the stillness of your own soul and feel comfortable with your own thoughts...they are the essence of contemplative photography. 

I never found a companion that
was so companionable as solitude.

- Henry David Thoreau


1 comment:

kimmanleyort said...

I too am very comfortable with solitude. Yet many are not