“I want to be alone. I just want to be alone” – Greta Garbo, Grand Hotel
And so do I want to often be alone, except when I don’t, in which case I choose the particular way in which I want to connect, such as…
…hearing the music of a good friend’s voice on the telephone,
…or seeing the full essence of a friend’s personality over a long (long) dinner,
…or reading a friend’s particular way with words in an email,
…or touching my husband’s hand, sitting side-by-side in silence at a movie,
… or listening to the sounds of the laughter and conversation and interruptions between friends around our dinner table,
… or enjoying the silent appreciation of an art exhibit, in a quiet museum filled with people,
… or watching the cardinals, the blue jays, the sparrows and the finches fight for dipping space in the birdbath on a hot day,
… or laughing at a text from my husband or my stepson about something goofy.
“Let’s assume, though, that we all have a set number of days to indent the world with our beliefs, to find and create the beauty that only a finite existence allows for, to wrestle with the question of purpose and wrestle with our answers.” – Jonathan Safran Foer
I Vant to be alone. I don’t Vant to be alone. I can feel companioned when I am alone pruning the knockout roses, surrounded by bumblebees and spiders and the occasional black snake. I can feel like I am the only person in the world walking down a crowded Fifth Avenue at dusk, taking in the last gasps of the setting sun.
I can be fully present whatever I am doing, with whomever I am doing it, depending on my mood, depending on the day. Or I can turn inside for a while to refill the well, depending on my mood, depending on the day.Technology can help or hinder, depending on whether my choice, at any given moment, is a conscious one or not.
No matter what, I think Jonathan Safran Foer gets it right in How Not to Be Alone when he writes:
“I worry that the closer the world gets to our fingertips, the further it gets from our hearts. It’s not an either/or — being “anti-technology” is perhaps the only thing more foolish than being unquestioningly “pro-technology” — but a question of balance that our lives hang upon.”
Me, too, Jonathan, me too.
So, at this particular moment on this particular Sunday, I choose to say Hello through this post, after which I will choose to put on my visor and spend time with the roses and bumblebees, after which I will choose to spend some time with myself, after which I will choose to call my husband to tell him I love him…after which, well, I don’t know yet, because the day is still unfolding.
And at the end of the day, after it is done with its unfolding, I hope I have managed to somewhat keep my heart, brain and soul connected and not scattered every which way with the wind.