Standing on the bluff in front of my home on the fourth of July, I felt a sudden surge of loneliness that caught me by surprise. I was not alone, Mark, Angel Daughter Number Three and her boyfriend were all present with me. My neighbors were all outside, talking, laughing and enjoying the beautiful firework display. But towards the end of the display, I decided to remain outside to watch other shows that could be seen in the distance. It was then that it struck me. Loneliness.
On any given day, I can step outside to view the huge expanse of sunlit glass which stretches out before me, and experience nothing but peace. I can take in the inherent smallness of being a single, human soul while still feeling somehow connected. I can breathe in the breeze that comes in off of the ocean, teeming with the scents of life. I can even perceive the relationship that I have to the massive flocks of seabirds who float effortlessly on the surface of the water searching for food.
And in viewing those seabirds which congregate by the hundreds, their presence emotes in me a solitude that is nowhere near a feeling of loneliness. I am alone, but I am in no way lonely.
Other days, the scene might change, but my feeling of comfortable solitude does not. I might stand ashore watching sailboats carrying their sailors out to sea, but once again, I feel a sense of connection. The feeling that we are all bound by that particular moment in time. A simple snapshot, in which everything and everyone appears as it should be. Solitude in unison.
And when I walk the beaches, the discovery of a single, brilliant piece of seaglass can draw me out of any sense of loneliness that I might be experiencing. Each tiny piece, a reminder to me that I am never alone. Not really.
Yet, sometimes, even in the midst of large crowds of people and exploding fireballs of color raining down from the sky, it is possible to feel very, very lonely. And that is okay.
It is okay because loneliness and solitude are two sides of the very same coin. And sometimes, when solitude becomes a little bit too familiar, loneliness steps in to keep us from becoming overly reclusive. Sometimes, we need sudden moments of loneliness in order to remind ourselves of how important it is to stay connected to other people. Like a small piece of seaglass that turns up in precisely the right place on the path that we are walking, moments of loneliness can also turn up as an important reminder to stay balanced.
This Thursday, July 9, will be my forty-seventh birthday. Angel Daughter Number One shared a bit of her soul-felt wisdom with me, the other day, by reminding me that a birthday is a time to celebrate oneself. It often amazes me that such words of awareness, can come from someone so young in years. So, in order not to allow myself too much solitude on my birthday, I am announcing it here. In the coming year, I intend to celebrate not only those whom I love and adore, but myself, as well. It is time. And life is not never-ending. Thank you for dropping that bit of seaglass wisdom in my path, AD1.