Morning Coffee with Dave & Rilke

“And to speak of solitude again, it becomes clearer and clearer that fundamentally this is nothing that one can choose or refrain from. We are solitary. We can delude ourselves about this and act as if it were not true. That is all. But how much better it is to recognize that we are alone; yes, even to begin from this realization.”

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

I love to read and re-read passages from Paul Tillich and Anthony Storr, as well as Rilke, concerning the theme of solitude. Solitude enveloped me as a child, since I did not grow up in a neighborhood, and I was four years old before a brother was born into our family. I still remember playing outdoors, inventing fantasies, and often sitting alone and just thinking.

I did not experience “community” till I started school, and since I skipped kindergarten, was already behind the curve of learning when I entered first grade. It took years to meld into the crowd, because I was already in my comfort zone of solitude.

My professional life has surrounded me with people, and I have known the experience of marriage and family. But still, I am very much aware of what it is to be alone, and take comfort when sensitive creative spirits such as Rilke write so eloquently of this sacred dimension of human existence.

Solitude is the wellspring of creative eros, and I am abundantly grateful that I was given the gift of savoring these rich experiences. Though I passed this Saturday morning grading, the job is now done, I have been gracefully touched by Rilke, and the rest of this day could be mine.

Thanks for reading.

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