Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Pleasure of My (Own) Company

The northeast wind blew attitude, the sky was bloated with abundant sunshine (don't you just love the word abundant?) and the temperature was in the mid-fall range. Fate intervened this past week, giving me a much needed morning out of the studio. I had to make the trip down to Salvo to deliver some work and see a friend I rarely get to visit with, especially during tourist season. The ocean glittered, full of diamonds and pearls as Prince and I let loose at full volume while crossing the Oregon Inlet bridge, one performing much better than the other.

Spending time alone is a necessary activity for me when the world becomes too intrusive. My mind needs to rest from the everyday chatter so I can focus on the beauty around me and be grateful. I like to take my time when I am alone, stopping to do a sketch when something catches my eye, grabbing a bite to eat, walking the beach or a trail at Pea Island, even visiting a local shop hoping to find that special item for a Christmas gift. I keep a cell phone in the car for emergencies but otherwise it's turned off. I'm not that important that I need to be available 24-7, nor do I want to be. Whatever situations arise, they can wait till I return home. I need time to stand still so I can rejuvenate, refresh, rethink. And I do all these things best when I am alone.

Vibrant patches of goldenrod were the first things I noticed on the drive in sharp contrast to the browning sea oats bending in the wind. These clumps of yellow dot the dunes and roadway for miles. This year the grasses were glowing in brilliant shades of green, probably from the recent rains, looking like the seasons can't decide if they are coming or going. Canary yellow machines prowled the road and climbed sand piles, scooping and pushing sand off the roadway and fortifying the dunes for the nor'easters that are sure to punch the coastline over the winter. At the southern end of the ponds at Pea Island I spied small flocks of snow geese, a surprise since it seems too early for them to be here. And the new inlet formed by last year's hurricane briskly rolled in rippled water, flowing steadily under the narrow, temporary bridge. A line of vehicles kissed each other's bumpers, squeezing onto the sandy shoulder, discharging fishermen to try their luck with whatever chances to swim through the inlet.

It was a wonderful morning of "catch up" with my friend Kim at her fabulous gallery. On the way home I parked at the north end of Pea Island and wandered up the trail a bit, stopping to do a little sketch while the wind wrapped its chilly arms around me. As I made my way back towards Bodie Island I could feel the tendrils of daily life reaching out to me, pulling me back home. But it was okay because I knew another adventure lurked on the near horizon which I'll try to remember to write about next time.

In the meantime I'll continue to sing at the top of my lungs, O-bla-di, O-bla-da...

"Being solitary is being alone well: being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your own presence rather than of the absence of others. Because solitude is an achievement."
        -   Alice Koller


  1. Such beautiful writing, Elizabeth! I admire your times of solitude and relish those for myself as well. Your day sounded perfect, and your paintings are gorgeous, as usual! (**sending mail soon!**)

  2. Thank you Erin for your kind words! Always love the feedback.