Life as a Hermit – Day 8

It was nice to be among people for awhile yesterday. I am not the only one who lives “Out” as they like to call us, those who come in periodically and stock up on supplies, to disappear again for days or weeks at a time.  I appreciate that I am not technically a hermit, but it is the closest description I can come up with. Or at least the most succinct. “Tired of the bullshit social and economic system forced upon us daily and would really prefer the company of nature” is a little verbose.

Kaiju is great, and I can always blow Chet back up, and I love my books and hobbies and daily survival chores. But I miss having a partner in crime. A best friend. I realized this after being single for a number of years. It’s not a husband, or a roommate, or a lover that I miss the most. It is the best friend who listens to whatever has me wound up on a given day; who brings me a Blizzard from Dairy Queen when I’m having a bad day; who will drop everything to go shopping or skating or on a road trip with me from time to time. My husbands were both my best friends. I have left other best friends behind. I lost one to growing apart; another to envy and betrayal; another to an ill-conceived love affair; and another is too far away, although always close in my heart.

This is one of my reasons for living Out. It is easier to be without a companion because of geography than scarcity.  It’s like being in Baskin Robbins without a single flavor you would eat, or simply choosing to be away from it all so that ice cream is not even an option. So I create my own little universe here, on a 2 acre plot in the Rocky Mountains. Sometimes I dream of the impossible. But for the most part I try to remain in the present, and appreciate what I do have around me.

So today, I will appreciate my dog, and my surroundings, and the soothing aspects of solitude. And consider creating an imaginary best friend. I never had one as a kid, so maybe it’s time. And I wouldn’t be the first person to create an imaginary friend, whether due to geography or scarcity, right?

Life as a Hermit – Day 7

I miss Chet. Even a staring, expressionless punching bag is better than being utterly alone. Well, maybe not. At least I have my dog.

I spent the morning cutting and sanding one of the larch stumps that came out of the cabin footprint when I built it. It sat outside over the winter but has dried up nicely this spring, so it was ready to become something completely new. I’m not sure what it’s going to be yet. At the right moment it will look like something other than a stump, and then I will just follow its lead and take it where it wants to go. If only humans were so prescient.

I will go into town this afternoon. It is time for some human contact, some time on my laptop with free wi fi, and pick up some supplies. Maybe a drink at Charlie’s, then back home for an evening fire outdoors. It is still cool enough for a fire in the evening. I can play fetch with my dog, Kaiju, and tire him out that way.

I am starting to lose that antsy feeling that I should be somewhere or doing something other than what I am doing. I can’t remember when I last felt this way, at least besides holidays. Sometimes I find myself just sitting, letting my mind wander, and minutes later I have been sitting in one spot, contentedly fiddling with a stick, or a flower, or adding wood to the stove. This is one of the things that I am here for: for time to pass at its own pace, instead of wrestling it to slow down or speed up or whatever my whim of the moment demands.

 

Life as a Hermit – Day 6

Chet is getting a little irritating. Even my dog has started to find him creepy, and I have had Chet around for awhile. He just sits there and stares. Chet, that is. My dog is actually animated, as though by a brain. It’s like Chet’s eyes follow me as I walk around the room. But then I look, and it’s like he hasn’t moved…at all.

I miss people. I miss my girlfriends that I used to go for coffee with. I miss the man who broke my heart. I miss my kids who have gone away to university. I miss being part of a world that isn’t of my own making. I miss turning on the tv and just sitting, mindlessly, pretending that I am doing something when really I am just filling my brain to keep it from wandering places I am tired of going.

What would I be doing, if I was back in the city, I wonder. Sitting in my house and wishing I was somewhere else, probably.  At least I have that, now. I’m somewhere else. How long will it be, I wonder, before I begin to accept my new reality. I love many things about it, but it remains somewhat foreign. It’s a little bit like leaving a relationship. You don’t really miss the things that are gone, you don’t really miss the person, but you miss the stability, the constancy, the predictability of your days. Sure, some of them are horrible days, but at least you don’t have to plan them from the moment you wake up in the morning until the minute your head hits the pillow at night.

Get out of bed, try to avoid an argument before leaving for work. Enjoy the job you hate because it’s a break from all the tension at home. Begin to feel that heavy, toxic dread in the pit of your stomach as five o’clock approaches. Think about whether you can have a few drinks every night and still get work done the next day. Cry, wipe the tears away as you drive into the garage. Take a deep breath and wonder what you’ve done wrong today, what you will argue about. The arguments are better than the silence. The silence just threatens to abandon you unexpectedly, and when it does, it’s rarely good.

I guess this silence is good. It is my silence. I chose it. But sometimes it makes me want to abandon it, and see how it likes it. I think I’m going to let all the air out of Chet.  I can’t deal with his staring, accusing eyes anymore. See how he likes being drained, empty, flattened.

I think I’ve been reading a little too much Nietzsche. Even my dog is starting to look at me like he expects my head to start spinning around. I’ll make us some pizza in the cob oven, that should cheer him up. And maybe a trip into town tomorrow for a little lunchtime Jack and Coke, and pick up some new books.

 

 

 

 

Life as a Hermit – Day 5

Today is quiet. Too quiet. I wonder if I should head into town today. It is sunny but cool as spring days can be. I could check on the bees or work on the henhouse but I feel more like going to sit at a coffee shop and letting the idle chatter of other humans wash over me so that I feel like part of their tribe.  It would be nice to have a neighbor. Someone close, but not too close. I could drive over and lean on the fence as we commiserate about the weather, what we will be planting, maybe even what we are reading.  Chet doesn’t really have strong views on any of these things. Or at least he doesn’t verbalize them.

What to do. It’s only been five days without human contact. I don’t even like most people. Why do I miss them? A person can be lonely in a room full of people, or solitary but not lonely. I’m here because I was lonely surrounded by people. Maybe I will stick it out alone today. See how I feel tomorrow. I can always immerse myself in a book. Perhaps something whimsical and fun like Nietzsche or Tolstoy. Or make something out of one of the tree stumps we pulled out of the cabin footprint.

Life as a Hermit – Day 4

It’s raining today. I have a lot of things I can do inside. It’s weird. I actually feel more like going out and playing in the rain than I would if I were still in the city.  It is so pretty, and I love the sound of the rain on the roof. Maybe I’ll hike down to the river and just sit and watch the circles form and expand on the water.

The dog didn’t want to come. He’s more of a cat than a dog. He won’t even get his paws wet, unless it’s in snow.

It’s beautiful out here. I love the silence. It isn’t real silence. At first you think it’s quiet. But then you notice the soft clatter of the raindrops on the undergrowth. And then  it’s the sound of the grass scratching against your jeans. And the squish of the grass under your shoes as you walk. Then there is a bird chirping. But only one, because it’s raining, and they go somewhere when rains.

The burble and hum of the river reaches my ears when it is still out of sight through the trees.  I slow down as I begin to take measured steps down the wet path, so that I don’t slip.  Now the swish of tree branches add to the “silence.” I laugh because it’s not silent at all. It is the kind of silence I love. Full, and enveloping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life as a Hermit – Day 3

 

chet

I suppose it is misleading to suggest that I have no human contact. Chet is here with me. But he is not much of a conversationalist. He mostly keeps to himself on the couch or in the corner near the kitchen table. I suppose he may be better cut out for this kind of life than I am. It’s just as well, I suppose. He used to get so clingy when I was leaving the house all the time for work, or to do errands. Now he seems much more content, knowing that I am around virtually 24/7. He is a good listener, though, like he has always been. Being outside in the cold is quite deflating for him.  But when it’s sunny and warm he becomes himself again. Constant. Firm in his beliefs. Ever present. Creepy.

Life as a Hermit – Day 2

I wonder when I’m going to start talking to myself. Oh wait, I’ve always talked to myself. Ok, I guess when am I going to start answering? Nope, that ship has sailed as well. When will I start talking to a volleyball? Maybe that’s the line.  We’ll see.

It’s going to be hard when it’s winter and I really feel isolated, not just by geography and social withdrawal, but by the sheer difficulty of getting to people if I want to. If I need to. I suppose it’s good that I started this in the spring. Winter is still a long way away. It will be wise to plan for that, I suppose. Snowmobile maybe? I hate those things, but as practical necessity I might be able to justify it. Snowshoes, I suppose. And skis. Could I skate down the river once it freezes? I don’t think it will freeze, though. It doesn’t get quite that cold here.

What to do today. I think I’ll hike up the mountainside and gather some herbs and berries.  There are alot of bears around, I should bring bells and bearspray. That’s the problem with gathering berries. I might as well be Yogi Bear raiding the beehive. Oh well. Herbs then. But first, I will make coffee and enjoy it on the porch.