The Telephone Rings


Being alone is one of the most beautiful gifts you could give yourself. Sit back. Prop up your feet. Make yourself comfortable. Pick up your package. Untie the ribbon. Peel off the wrapping. Breathe in. Breathe out. Surprise! You are alone at last. Savor the moment.

People often talk about a life of solitude as if it is a state to be disdained. The solitary life is supposed to be lonely, depressing and unwelcome. It is to be avoided. People who enjoy being alone are considered anti-social. They are called hermits or monks. They are seen as pariahs of society and are often considered to be weird.

People equate being alone with loneliness, isolation, abandonment or alienation. Those are states of being from which the individual may find it hard to escape. Often you are left powerless, weak and incapacitated. Diseases and illnesses produced by the aging process, traumatic events or accidents can leave you locked in time. You become a clock that needs rewinding, but no-one can find the key.

The “being alone” of which I speak is a conscious choice made by the individual. It is choosing to sing a solo. You are the star, the protagonist. Everyone else is a spectator in the unfolding drama you are creating. You can take your song and curl it. You can spiral it. You can narrow it. You can expand it. You can sing it low, high or in between. You can be a soprano, a contralto or a bass. You can swing with your song, float or soar. You can simmer, steam or boil. You can sip your song like a slow gin fizz, make it mellow like a southern comfort or you can slurp it like a margarita. You are free. Make the song your own. You are alone.

You are alone because you choose to be alone. It is the home to which you can always go home again. Being alone you develop an intimacy with yourself. You pray. You meditate. You listen and you hear that voice within yourself making connections.

Being alone unites you with the world of nature. You can be the lone fisherman under the tree with your line in the still river. You are the epitome of being alone as you breathe in the aroma of the earth and relax in peaceful quietude. You can be alone as you stand on the seashore, one atom among the zillion particles of sand and the vast ocean filled with life that joins people to people and country to country. Bask in the awe and wonder of it all as you stand alone.

You can be alone in a crowded, tightly packed subway train. You bruise and bounce from body to body as the train races, roars, rumbles and screeches. Yet you are alone in this place. You are alone as you travel through the corridors of the mind and explore the passages of space and time. You linger at stations packing in the pages of your life. You dream, anticipate, think, reflect and review. You step away from the train ready to face the reality of a hot, humid day.

Being alone is courageous. You grasp the chance to practice the things you are scared to do in a large group. You teach yourself that dance step that seems so simple to everyone but is so complicated for you.You sing in the shower the song that you love so much but would never want anyone to hear you sing. You have conversations with yourself without having others think that you are insane. Being alone you experiment, try out, rehearse and conduct your own show.

You revisit history. Great ancestors, long gone aunts and cousins come to reminisce and chat a while. You laugh and cry. You relive your own good old days. You reach for the elusive years of a time gone by when you were young and dreamed of older years. You do not linger here too long. Life must go on.

At times, dark images may cloud your mind when you are alone. Betrayals, grudges, lost love and tortured pain slice through your soul. You go ahead and bleed. You yell, scream and holler. Then you pick up the pieces and begin to create new designs.

Being alone offers inspiration and rejuvenation. Van Gogh was all alone as he painted.  Albert Einstein was all alone as he developed his theories. Martin Luther King, Jr. was alone as he went to the mountaintop. Being alone gives you brilliant opportunities to delve within the mind and to dare to make new discoveries.

Creativity blooms when you are alone. Writers and poets like Toni Morrison and Georgia Heard go off by themselves to explore the intricacies of their minds and to create. Georgia writes, “I try to make the place where I write as safe, soothing, and quiet as possible. A place where I can shut the door, have some solitude and just be.”

Alone, you can be all that you want to be. It’s coming home, kicking off your shoes by the front door, unfastening your buttons in the hallway and rushing to sit for hours on the toilet with that book that you can’t wait to finish, but hope will never end.

You hear the text alert on your i-Phone.  You do not look at it. The telephone rings. You do not answer it. You close your eyes. You see and feel the rhythms of life.

Being alone is all this and more.


About Author

Enid Silvera is a Seattle writer who enjoys sharing her perspective with others.

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