I hope to find the title and author of this book I was reading while my husband was dying. I even read passages to him, whether he heard any of the funny stories related to living or working in the woods, or not.
The author spent about four months in a “remote location in Oregon’s Rogue River Canyon, and quit civilization”. The following is an excerpt that spoke to my need for solitude in a way I never could explain:
It makes me smile, thinking about the 1960s here at my backwoods commune of one. I stayed briefly at a few communes in those years, declared and de facto, urban and rural. I never would have made it as a permanent resident. I’m too brittle, too jealous of my privacy. I need elbow room, mood room, and considerable quiet. I find, like Thoreau, that even the best company can soon become wearisome–not the persons themselves, but the ongoing need to converse, to respond, even to smile and laugh. I better appreciate, after nine weeks here, that to keep up a social face is an exertion for me. It’s often worthwhile, an exertion with rewards, but it does take energy that I can gain back only in solitude. There are those who feel most themselves in the company of others, and there are those who feel most themselves alone. no mystery about this boy.
Most of us need some measure of both, but in our culture we tend heavily toward human company. Anthony Storr, in Solitude: A Return to the Self, raises an interesting point. Overwhelmingly, mental health professionals measure good health as the ability to form and sustain meaningful relationships with others. Fair enough. But why isn’t it also measured as one’s ability to spend satisfying time alone? The ability to form and maintain a meaningful relationship with oneself?
A librarian helped me find the book mentioned above to be Rogue River Journal : A Winter Alone by John Daniel.
Then, there’s this TED talk on Introverts