I once went to see Jerry Seinfeld and he told this joke about how he likes to stay up after his family goes to bed, lie on the couch til really late, watch television and pretend he is single. It made me laugh. Our house is like that.
I feel the same way in the mornings when I get up and everyone is still in bed and there is a quiet that falls over the place. The sun is blessing the rooms. Everything looks still and shining. The colours seem a little brighter at that time of the day.
I like the steam off the kettle that rises as I pour the water over my old fashioned coffee pot. I feel free and on my own. Nothing to contend with. When my children were small I felt like I had to savour every moment as they might wake at anytime. Peace and quiet is fragile when you are caring for children.
Solitude is heaven, especially when you know the company of others is there if you need it. We are buffered by knowing that our solitude will not become lonely as it will most likely be short lived.
I understood Jerry Seinfeld, and the need to pretend you are alone. To lie on the couch watch the game and drink a couple of beers and leave the cans on the coffee table without anyone walking by and grabbing them for the recyclers. It is the last thing I would want to do but I completely get it. He just wants for a moment in the day to be itself.
My friend recently went to visit her old old friend and when she came back she said, "You know I just got to be myself, just myself, for a week. " She was not a mother, or a nurse, or a daughter, she was just herself.
We all need a bit of this. Maybe we cannot get a weeks worth but we can steal it in the early morning as the sun filters the steam off our morning coffee and there is not another breath in the room besides our own. We find this in our hooking I think. The comfort of solitude. Those times when you can hear the furnace cut in, the bird song in the yard, and the soft squeak of the floor boards as you pad across them in your bare feet. There is joy in this time.
I don't feel guilty for it because I know that my family loves that space too and they all get it in their own ways. We need space in our lives to be ourselves. To be just who we are. We are on our own schedules, and these schedules give us time to be on our own in our home. It lets us, as John O'Donohue once wrote, "Bless the space between us."
Some of us have plenty of solitude and need just the reverse. The clatter in the kitchen can then be a comfort. The sound of my daughter rushing down the stairs on a weekend visit like a rush of horses does my heart good. Yet even when the house is full for a few days I still need the respite of a moment to myself. A moment where I can hear myself think. A moment when I can stop for a second and hear every little sound of the shifting house, the clicking of the wood stove, the sounds of silence. They comfort me too.
The tap is running now in the kitchen. The clatter of the day is beginning and I am ready for it. My hooking is there, and I will pour another coffee and I will go to the frame, restored for having written these words and having had that moment where the sun filtered the kettle's steam and I was the only one there to witness it.
Thank you for reading.
- Deanne Fitzpatrick