Saturday Morning

But being lonely and being alone are not the same, and Bishop recognized from a young age that there was something special, even salvific, about the latter. “There is a peculiar quality about being alone, an atmosphere that no sounds or persons can ever give,” she wrote in the 1929 essay. “It is as if being with people were the Earth of the mind, the land with its hills and valleys, scent and music: but in being alone, the mind finds its Sea, the wide, quiet plane with different lights in the sky and different, more secret sounds.” I understood this sentiment well, the special beauty of the blue hours when you are, by choice, alone, and the candle of your self burns in a way it never quite can when you are with someone else…

Yet, as Bishop wrote in 1929, being alone…is unimpeachably special, sacrosanct. The art of being alone, especially in a world where our identities all too often feel coterminous with what we post on social media or achieve publicly and how people react thereto—and where desiring privacy can seem a cause for suspicion—feels increasingly hard to master. But it’s one of the most exquisite, and, to me, most necessary, arts to master, lest we lose too much of ourselves by forgetting—or never knowing—how to be beautifully alone, buoyed by the ocean-music of silence.

~ Gabrielle Bellot, from “Alone with Elizabeth Bishop,” The New York Review of Books (September 20, 2018)


Photo by Marta Bevacqua

Comments

  1. Yes! Yes! Yes!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Love this

    Liked by 1 person

  3. David; I see you too have given this theme some thought! 🙂
    And, of course, I love it – obviously! Have a profoundly good, happy weekend, filled with all the really important ‘things’.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. yes, finding those ‘beautifully alone’ times is an art in itself.

    Like

  5. Totally resonates – I enjoy my own time I love the calm

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a beautiful image she painted, the mind finding its sea!
    When I first moved to chicago, 15 years ago next month, our place was right on the lake. The waves hit the side of the building. And our windows on the third floor all faced the lake. I didn’t work and didn’t know anyone for a long time. To do laundry I have to go out the kitchen door, on the lake, go down 3 floors, to do laundry at lake level. Esam worked and traveled, it was me and the lake. Alone but never lonely.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Quiet anywhere you can find it is precious after this week. Thanks. MA

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    ‘Yet, as Bishop wrote in 1929, being alone…is unimpeachably special, sacrosanct. ‘ …. being alone is a blam to the soul!!

    Like

  9. Beautifully alone…what a wonderful goal

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s funny how, when you WANT to find alone time you must work it in, so to speak; yet sometimes, you would rather be with people but find yourself alone.
    Life. Ever the challenge at finding that balance. Now, I have the urge to take Zeke to the St. Lawrence River… a mere 2 km walk… to find that special flow..
    Love this, David.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. You are so thought-provoking, David…thanks! Having been an only child [in NY City], I guess I learned to love being with myself, but I always developed friendships and play companions. I do know how “the candle of your self burns in a way it never quite can when you are with someone else…” Reminds me of how I’ve recommended to others to experience nature and great museums without chatter–to experience what’s there fully.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Another gem, so sings the choir. As it should, even if it’s ironic. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. well saiid although i find itv difficult to distinguish the two

    Like

  14. Wonderful. I especially relate to these words, “the candle of your self burns in a way it never quite can when you are with someone else…”

    Liked by 1 person

  15. having the privilege of alone time a gift, where the fertile-ness of expansive thought, is birthed and grows… /// forced or circumstantial lengthy alone time, in silence and isolation, can become a consequence of life where the mind journeys, unsettled, drifting rudderless, stagnating to such a degree that rational thought dissipates…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Time alone is precious. 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Dave, in your response to my comment, assume a mistype? Nodding? not noodiling < ha…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I will have to google Noodling. Hope I understand what it means.

    Like

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