By Mark McGee
Monday and Tuesday were unusual days for me.
After the snow started falling Sunday night, I didn’t leave my house until Wednesday morning.
I have to admit the solitude was nice, even if it was forced due to the extreme weather issues. It wasn’t complete isolation because I answered phone calls, e-mails, and text messages. I seldom turned on the television. It was just me and my cat who enjoyed having me around all day and night.
I like to think of myself as being a social person though I am not going to be the life of a party.
But I envy those who have the wherewithal and can find the time to just be away from it all for an extended period of time.
As I have mentioned before I have a number of writing projects I want to complete. Most of them can’t be completed with an hour here or 30 minutes there to write. I need an extended period when 99 percent of my concentration is on the individual projects.
I remember the second version of the “Newhart Show” where comedian Bob Newhart was an author who owned a small bed and breakfast in a tiny Vermont town. While the bed and breakfast and his eccentric neighbors took up much of his time, he still managed to get away from the confusion and write.
A friend of mine from high school is a prolific author of religious books who spends time in Destin, Fla., when he needs to complete one of his writing projects. He has just the sound of the waves hitting the beach as background music to his fingers clacking on a keyboard.
Frankly, I would be happy with just a few weekends in a quiet area. I love the hubbub of a city, but such places are not conducive to productive writing.
My late father, who enjoyed hunting and also talking with people, sometimes would talk about how much he would like to have a cabin isolated in the mountains. Whenever I see the movie “Jeremiah Johnson” I think of him.
When I was young, I didn’t really understand or appreciate solitude. I think that is true of most of us.
In this day and time, it is something most of us not only crave but need.
Henri Nouwen, a Dutch priest, author, and professor said, “Solitude is very different from a ‘time-out’ from our busy lives. Solitude is the very ground from which community grows.
“Whenever we pray alone, study, read, write, or simply spend quiet time away from the places where we interact with each other directly, we are potentially opened for a deeper intimacy with each other.”