Child of Solitude

I did not go to the tavern last night. Neither did I go to the bath house, the castle, or the tavern by the docks. Instead, I took myself to the wilder parts of the island, along the cliffs, into the little valleys, seeking the part where I would see no-one, hear no-one, speak to no-one. It was the previous evening, writing my journal as I sat in the lookout, watching the docks below and the islands beyond, “alone with the night” as I wrote, that I felt the need for some alone time.

And so it was that I resolved to go nowhere last night. Eschewing the company of creatures shaped like myself, I went into the wilderness, companion only to gulls that mewed in the sky and the rabbits rustling in the undergrowth. I cared not that the weather was inclement; moreover, I sought it out, standing on the edge, with the rain stinging my face and the wind whipping my hair, feeling the force of nature that had been absent so long, during my time in London. It cleared out the cobwebs, as Mother was so fond of saying of our trips to the resorts of Devon and Cornwall, during those summer holidays of my teenage years.

Strangely, it made me reflect on the advice I had been giving to Aoibheann, about not dwelling on the past, about not worrying over past mistakes and past choices. Perhaps, I thought, it was time that I listened to my own advice. My past is behind me and nothing I can do will change that. Some bits of my past are here in Jasper Cove, important bits even, but I can’t let that hold me back, or waste my time dwelling on them. Something blew away then, and it was not my hat. Something I had not realised I had been hanging on to disappeared in the wind and rain, leaving me feeling freer than I had for a long, long time. I knew I was right to spend some time out here.

An idea occurred, as I stood there, one hand on my journal in my coat pocket, the rest of the coat billowing in the wind. All the words I have committed to paper over the years, in this journal, and all the others going back to that first journal Mother gave me for my twelfth birthday, how many must there have been? And all comments upon my day, my feelings, and my speculations on life. In all those words, where was the creativity? True, I have committed some truly dreadful poetry in my time, which leaden verses, thank all the deities, now lie at the bottom of the ocean, only offending the sensibilities of literate lampreys. But here, on this windy promontory some ideas come to mind. Perhaps I can write something? Heaven knows I have time enough, here on this strange island. Perhaps I should make use of it while I have it, and maybe, in time, if I ever find my way back to the world I knew, I can tell that story in more concrete words. I think it was Goethe who wrote “A creation of importance can only be produced when its author isolates himself; it is a child of solitude.” Maybe that is what my time here on this island is for.

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