There’s a quote from Thoureau that states “I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
I read it and re-read it, until it stuck with me. Until those words sank under my skin and the cells were reborn with letters etched on them. Until I managed to dismantle it and then reconstruct it like an old, brooding house whose sickly green weeds are creeping over the path.
Maybe Thoureau was right. Maybe, as a dear friend once revealed to me, solitude is the most extraordinary and most wretched present that time could ever give us.
Perhaps, though, our beloved writer never had the chance to realize that being in solitude with someone else can be as wonderful. Alone and together, both are happiness. Both can mean peace. If you’re whole, you may let what’s inside you come to the surface and illuminate this world a little bit more. If you’re happy, you may let your happiness shine bright and share that reverberating joy with someone else. If you love within, you may love outside and beyond.
Ah, it appears to be so simple. If only.
Perhaps, we could just revisit what’s “straightforward” and “unpretentious” in this moment. We could re-live it; whether tangible or intangible, right now we might need it to be a subatomic particle of our thoughts, of our sentiments. To lull ourselves in our atom for a little while yet.
But we need to envelop our hands in work gloves once again and start putting one brick upon another, until the only thing left to do is to scrub those grimy windows and let the light of the setting sun to paint the old, brooding house of a warm orange.
Because everything changes, everything evolves. We change and we evolve. We seal our goodbyes, allowing our glances and silences and smiles to speak for us. We leave safe homes, people and emotions to pursue a vague path for an even vaguer destination. We welcome the beauty that always surrounds us, which is ever different and better and brighter.
This is why changes don’t scare us anymore, or at least not as profoundly. To tell the truth, we wait for them, anxiously, arms wide open, because sensing the change makes us feel alive. What if what we were really afraid of is the fear that none of this will ever feel like enough? That the train going North could take us somewhere more peaceful, that the paint-dirty shirt could fade its colors, that that letter with an unhinged-written address on it could change our life course forever, that the coffee in your blue cup may be darker.
And what if the only solution was to dive into the fear itself? And so, when we have been immersed in it and the only color encircling us is a non-color, we let the light crack in. This fear is no longer meant to be. There is no “better there” and at the same time, there is. We are the ones deciding it. And we are so much. Me, you, the billions of people walking the routes on this Earth. Each one of us is an instant of eternity, a glimpse of divinity that has nothing to share with religions, the essence beneath the label.
And this is how the world becomes a reflection of who we are. What we breathe out, we breathe in. And so I believe, if we want to inhale love instead of fear, we must first learn how to exhale love and not fear.
It is truly simple.
Giulia Cassiani, born and bred in Northern Italy, is currently volunteering in “la Ciudad blanca”, in Bolivia. She enjoys climbing mountains and bookshelves, drinking (loads of) tea and discovering new perspectives, literally and metaphorically.