Farewell, My Hermitage

By , May 3, 2013

Today, as soon as the tide falls far enough for me to hike the bay, I’ll head to the ferry terminal to pick up Michelle. At that point, my hermit life of the past two weeks ends.

I can’t wait to see my wife again. We haven’t been apart for more than a night or two since last June. Even though we’ve phoned every day, and Skyped once during her absence, we’ll both have a lot to tell each other. Those avenues of communication are a poor substitute for face-to-face interaction. She’s bringing supplies, some of them badly needed, that aren’t available in town. I also must admit that I’m looking forward to sharing the responsibility for keeping the cat happy and the plants alive.

And yet, I must be honest: I’ve enjoyed my time alone.

I’ve been “making do” for myself over the last 12 days, and doing just fine. The solitude never got to me. I was never completely cut off from family or friends, but I never felt overwhelmed by the need for anyone’s physical presence, either. Without going completely feral, I enjoyed a bit more freedom of movement, time, and space usage than usual. This cabin, cozy and comfortable for two or three, turns out to be perfectly suited for one.

Interestingly, I don’t think I found any task that had to be put off until I had a second set of hands, or another strong back. Anything I needed to attend to could be handled by one person. True, I’m lucky the herring didn’t arrive while Michelle was out of town. I didn’t try to fell any trees on my own, either. I chose my activities with an eye toward avoiding those that are best done with help, or at least with someone nearby to provide medical help if necessary, but I don’t think I ever had to consciously avoid those kinds of jobs. I also feel that, had such tasks arisen, I could have handled them on my own.

Self-reliance is a necessary part of this lifestyle. While I’m not eager to do it all on my own for any length of time, nor would I willingly surrender Michelle’s help, judgement, love, or companionship, I find it reassuring that, should I be forced to do so, I would do all right.

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