On Solitude

NCT Trail P 096

People, like deer and celebrities, tend to cluster amongst themselves. Anytime you should encounter a sitcom star, be still! Lower your gaze. Chances are good that his Emmy-winning girlfriend and the whole supporting cast will come trundling after.

If, on the other hand, you find yourself alone in the woods searching for a companion, you ought to turn around. You may think “I have been alone for a long time. Probability states that I will witness another form of humanity any minute now.” You are wrong. You are not “due” for a rendezvous. Humans are not evenly spread across the globe! We situate ourselves near in concentrated pockets around temperate climes, gas stations, and each other. The further you go without seeing a person, the less likely it is that you will find one.

A team of astronauts may circle the moon in each other’s company, but they do not return with news that space if full of people. They know better than to project their experience on the vast expanse of infinity. Yet here on earth we often fall for the old trick of assuming that our interaction with the world is reflective of the whole sprawling surface and it’s just not so.

The good news is that, if you wish to be alone, you can merely head outward from whatever population hub you are in, and escape into solitude. It’s truly incredible how easily one can escape with the simple rule of heading in whichever direction contains the least human intervention. Become like an electron bursting from the outer ring to explore the world as a free agent. Take yourself to one of the many places on the planet uninhabited by people. Prepare yourself for extreme cold, excesses of insect life, or deep oceans for you are as likely to find another human here as you would be to encounter a curious doe in Times Square.

And in that quiet place with stars for company and wind for conversation you will know down to your lonely toes the truth of human’s skewed and scattered constellation. And if, against the odds, you look up to find another solitary soul in your wanderings, search no further. You have found someone to share your emptiness with, and they will fill you up more than any crowd of strangers could.

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