ALONE ON THE MOUNTAIN
I spend great stretches of time alone up on the mountain with the sky on my hands, tending soil, seeds and plants, rearranging rocks the better to suit their natures vis-a-vis my need for stone walls, gazing out at the Lake and its majesty, getting as involved as I humanly can in thunderstorms and hurricanes, learning from them the many small things about myself, my past, my path, and the vortex of truth and illusion.
There is no greater teacher than solitude, as anyone who makes it back from the desert knows. Not solitude in the negative standard 'loneliness' sense, but in the aboriginal magnificent spirit-quest uplift sense. In the city, when you are alone it is a societal matter; when you are alone in the country you are alone, you realize, with everything. In persisting, you learn to listen at last to the symphony of all. You learn the geography of silence, find your way at last to the gate at its heart, and pass beyond into the secret garden. You learn there are places where the soul does not grow.
The need for such knowledge is the reason children leave home and go hungrily into the solitude of their own lives, to learn what is to be learned there. Too often, though, this quest is stifled at the start, even before the start, by societal and parental agendas, derivative teachings diluted to local purpose and contemporary assumptions of morality.
And so in the same nature of things are parents given a second chance when the children leave home, leaving the parents alone at last to learn (or not) what is now there for them to learn. Too often, though, because they have always followed a prescribed path, they do not know what to do with newness, and now is as opaque to them as tomorrow. It will take time, and changes, for them to truly grow from here. But to those who have never stopped growing, there is no change involved; one simply continues becoming.