Solitude – The Words

William Henry Davies wrote a poem titled “Leisure”.
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this, if full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

Whenever I have pictured it in my mind, this poem has always seemed to me not so much about leisure as about solitude. Or rather, the pre-requisite state of mind to enjoy this ideal of leisure. Standing and staring, passing woods, watching squirrels or waxing lyrical about starry streams all seem to be related to a solitary state of being even if, perhaps, physically there is a crowd.  In a world of a few billion people, solitude is a rarity and luxury. If people are not constantly surrounding you, they are at the very least communicating with you in some form or the other. In the hustle of our daily living, we have surrounded ourselves with chaos,  of one form or another.

We escape, now and again, to the one place where we are assured of solitude. The wild outdoors (lately the African bush).

It never fails to soothe the soul and offer contentment.

There is a sort of magic in any unspoilt place on earth. Mountains, oceans, deserts, forests … even just communing with a potted plant … one can breathe easily and be aware of one’s true self.  Be alone yet not lonely. Find solitude.