We live in a world starved for solitude, silence, and privacy (to quote C.S. Lewis), and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.
I’ve never known a time like this, of enforced solitude, silence and privacy. But I’ve known the joys of it when chosen. Sometimes the things we don’t ask for have a way of teaching us lessons we need most. Maybe all the time.
I’ve never known a time like this where a revolution of global consciousness felt so possible and so widespread (I wasn’t around in the 70s and South Africa wasn’t particularly woke then anyway). I’ve only read about this kind of chaos, perhaps even the word anarchy could apply, in books. I’ve never lived through war or rations or curfews but I’ve felt my own war, my own rations, my own curfews. Having the world hand these over, having our grip on the future and present so drastically shaken, is terrifying and annoying and saddening, but in some way, and it feels blasphemous to admit, it’s also resurrecting.
It feels like it has potential to be a great restoration of the earth, a reclaiming of the simplicity and sacredness (of everything from handwash to freedom of movement to wildlife) that we’ve lost, the solitude and silence and privacy we’ve handed over. Things we need as much as the earth does.
I hope we learn lessons. I hope we don’t return to old ways. I hope we find ourselves again and in so doing, find our way back to the earth. And to each other. As better humans.
Leave wildlife alone. Eat berries. Wash your hands. But don’t be afraid of the dirt. Celebrate the soil. Consider the plants that grow from it and the animals that feed on them. Consider energy and the balance you need to function in your personal life and remember that the earth will always return you to this balance as it does itself. Simplify. Be kind. Be quiet. Be alone. Reach out in new ways. Step out in new ways: into nature not malls, lonely shores not concert halls.
Befriend silence. Befriend books. Befriend rivers and mountains and trees. Befriend squirrels and doves. Befriend yourself. This too shall pass.