Nothing in the news moves me. I am not sure that it is because I do not care or I have come to realize how I feel about the news does not matter. Perhaps both. And more. Reading the news and coming to grips with the fact that nothing I do will change it in the least probably has something to do with it. And being tired…tired of the constant repetition of information about problems we, collectively, seem unwilling to solve. We are able, but we will not act. Because we do not agree. We do not even see eye to eye on the extent to which problems are problems—war, murder, homelessness, fleeing social decay, famine, etc., etc., etc. Some people seem to think some of those issues have “uses.” I am quite tired of it all. All. Of. It.


An NPR article updated in December 2021 (I have no idea when it was originally published) asserts that there is no universally agreed definition of solitude. The assertion was made by one of the editors of The Handbook of Solitude. But there seems to be agreement that solitude exists when a person feels alone. That feeling can take place in a crowded room or in an empty stadium. The experience is what matters, not the circumstances surrounding the experience. I find that concept thought-provoking—it opens my mind to an entirely new way of looking at, and possibly experiencing solitude. Hmm. It is thought-provoking, but I have to be in the right mood. My mood at the moment is hard to define, but I do not think “right” is it.


Changes in the seasons rarely affect me with any appreciable impact. But when seasonal changes coincide with indelible memories of loss, I feel overwhelmed by an intense sense of melancholy. No, it is more powerful than melancholy. It is grief that, in the moment, seems like it will be permanent and insurmountable. Suddenly, I want nothing more than to flee everything and everyone; find a hidden place far, far away and sleep for as long as it takes to recover my…sanity, I guess. Though that is what I want to do, I have never done it. At least not for long. I think the return from the respite to my “normal” life might make it worse, somehow. So, instead, I simply try to become unobtrusively invisible for a while. I am not sure whether the seasons have anything to do with it; it may just be coincidental. Regardless of the cause, the feeling that I am drowning in something impossible to escape defies description. I cannot equate it to any other sensation because it is the only sensation that has ever had that effect on me. But, eventually, I climb out of it. If circumstances are right, I will have successfully hidden the emotional meltdown. If not, I have to convince those around me to just “drop it” so I can avoid conversations I do not want to have. One of these days, I will encounter the right person—a stranger—to whom I can explain the experience and who might be able to help me end the cycle.


I could sleep for days, if only I could empty my mind and calm my nervous system. I think I understand why people turn to dangerous drugs. They want to be empty and calm. Or, maybe, just the opposite. I do not know, of course. I only think. Thinking is dangerous, especially when thought morphs into opinion and opinion solidifies into belief. That bears repeating. Thinking is dangerous, especially when thought morphs into opinion and opinion solidifies into belief.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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