Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Solitude

My husband is something of an adventurer. He enjoys scuba diving, rappelling, snowboarding, motorcycle riding, parachuting; you name it, he's done it. But his true love is off-road trail riding and rock climbing in his lovingly modified Jeep Wrangler. His ardor for the sport (and his propensity for breaking some expensive part or another every time he goes out) has even led to his opening a small business fabricating and designing bits and pieces to make a trail run better and safer. He is gone at least a dozen weekends a year leading, or taking part in, trail rides all over the country.

And if there ever was a more textbook example of "opposites attracting" than our marriage, I'd be interested in seeing it. :)

I am a homebody. I enjoy having a snug little perch where I can relax and putter. I love it when life is normal and boring. I've never felt the pull of adventure or had a "conquer it just because it is there" attitude. Hestia embodied in the slightly dumpy and nearsighted body of an approaching middle-age red-head.

Which is why, every spring, when my husband attends the big meet and greet trail ride put on by a well-known Jeep hardware catalog, I baffle my friends and family by going along for the trip. Even though I do not ride the trails (I get insanely car-sick, lol) I always go along and organize the camp. I spend four days sitting in a field, all by myself for at least eight hours a day. And I enjoy every minute of it.

About 150 Jeeps converge on the small town, some riders coming from as far away as Europe, to spend three or four days camping, talking Jeep lore, and riding the trails. We stay in a big field, bordered on three sides by a windbreak of trees and on the fourth by a quiet road. There is no sightseeing to be done, unless you count the groundhogs and the neighboring farm's sprouting corn. There are no "facilities" aside from a port-a-john or a carefully selected bush, and a waterhose which the guys use both for hosing copious amounts of mud from their persons and cooling off overheated engine parts. Some people stay in a local motel about twenty minutes away, but that wouldn't do for the leader of the "Xtreme Trail" and his equally heavily modified class buddies.

So, while my husband is gone all day, what do I do? For me it's a little like a form of meditation. I read piles of books, knit, nap, and just be. It's the only time in the year when I actually go more than an hour without uttering a word. The silence is such a novelty to me, the chance just to sit and listen to my own thoughts a real rarity. There aren't many people in our world nowadays who get the chance to experience that kind of all alone, no mobile phone, no electricity, no plumbing gurgle, no next door neighbor yakking, kind of quiet.

I also find that at the end of my own little "adventure" I am really ready to start back to my daily routine with a new fervor. I usually spend the whole two-hour ride home anxiously anticipating my home and my little Peanut's face. I can't wait to get back to my life. My stay in the field each year brings my life and goals into sharper focus.

But when I try to tell these things to someone else, they very often can not understand. "How boring!" or "I would go crazy with nothing to do" are the usual responses I receive. They can't understand it is that very "nothing" that attracts me so much. I guess, until you have had a chance to sit alone with your thoughts, you won't understand how refreshing it can be.

5 comments:

Erin said...

That sounds like a wonderful way to spend some time. I'm rather jealous that you have the opportunity to indulge like that. :)

truevyne said...

All that solitude! My response is "You are a blessed woman".

Happy Housewife said...

In the middle of a writer's block, i-Mom? You haven't posted in a while... now now, be good and put those 'thoughts that crop up in the supermarket isle' down!

You are missed.

Posy said...

I have a half hour slot on a Tuesday evening when I sit in the car waiting for my son to finish his drum lesson...I absolutely love it. I sit there and do a crossword or sudoku and listen to the radio. I even bring a can of fizzy! Pure bliss with no interruptions!
Good for you - you'll be a better mom/wife for it!

Joanne said...

Sounds divine to me. There's nothing better than just sitting quietly for a while, soaking in the silence. It always makes me much more able to respond later when one of my girls says, "Guess what, Mom?" and launches into a circular story that doesn't go anywhere but is so important to listen to anyway!