Each afternoon he took his pipe
and led his goats beyond the pasture
to a neighbor’s field behind his farm—
not exactly his but not exactly not.
As the goats clipped the tall grasses,
he sat in the chair he never failed
to bring. Sometimes he read, most often
not. The vetch climbed the goldenrod,
the dandelions turned from gold
to globe, and every day he went,
thinking to himself how good it was
to be almost but not entirely alone.
~Michelle Y. Burke “A Life” from Animal Purpose
At times, when things seem a little too quiet around here, I remember my past days of working motherhood when the only moments during my day when I was alone was when I went into the bathroom and closed the door. Often that wasn’t even sacrosanct.
During those very busy years, I truly forgot how to be by myself, just existing without outside distractions and others’ input to keep my mind occupied. Now, it is too easy to rely on a phone in one’s pocket to avoid ever being “alone” just sitting with my own thoughts.
So I go out into the field whenever I can – simply to be – almost, but not entirely alone. I won’t forget that I’m never really alone – and that is always forever okay with me.
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