It is raining. This is better than snowing, since I am still in the process of saving money for snow tires. I look out, through the slanted slats of the ubiquitous plastic apartment blinds, to see the runoff from the neighbor’s porch roof splash in syncopation into the narrow ribbon of a shallow black puddle. The rain is gently ticking against my windows. The coffeemaker is wetly wheezing and sputtering its last breaths into the carafe. The apartment smells of fresh coffee and slightly stale pizza, and I make a mental note to lug the trash outside once the rain stops. If it stops.

I am here, alone as usual, on a typical weekend. My life is reforming its own patterns of normalcy. Once I shut the door, after coming home from work on Friday, it will not be opened again until it is time to go to work on Monday. This is now the rhythm of my weekend. I believe this is a kind of faux-agoraphobia, which is a nicer way of saying hunkering down and numbing out in order to recuperate from a week of people.

The concepts and realities of being alone and loneliness are often playing against themselves in my life.

Entire books are written by authors seeking the sanctity and sanity of solitude. Longing for a quiet room of one’s own is recorded. Other people, even friends and lovers, are distractions and disruptions to the creative life. Authors want to plunge into the torrent around them to experience and observe, only to retreat in order to explore in silence that which has happened. Without the madness and interruptions there might not be anything to write, yet without the quietude the writing doesn’t have the chance to slowly percolate through the noise, and without the filter of uninterrupted silence the brew is weak and flawed. Or so the theories go.

The coffee smells good.

The diffuse gray light of morning is reflecting off of the heavy white ceramic rim of my King Arthur Flour coffee mug. The spoon on the table next to the cup and the black computer mouse make a little still life, and I mentally make a photograph.

I wish I had a decent camera.

It is true that if I had a house with other people living in it, and if it had a phone ringing, and if it had a pet who needed attention, then I probably wouldn’t notice things like highlights on mugs as often as I do. Things take on more importance in silence.

Things take on more importance in silence until they don’t. When the silence clicks into loneliness and curves into depression and recurves back on itself, then the little tableaus become more gray and transparent. They have less presence and may become a taunt for what is lacking. A wish for contact wells and the quiet of the rain ticking is an exclamation of things being too quiet. Then the remembered experiences of other humans feels like collisions and my body recoils. I embrace the quiet again.

We write, I think, to discover ourselves. We turn the crystal in the presence of others and see what color the refraction brings. We hold the facets up to our silent selves and witness the difference. We peer into the body of the glass to see if there are imperfections to distort the reflections. We hang the suncatcher in the window and get little satisfaction on a rainy morning.

This post’s Featured Image is an original virtual photograph, captured in a virtual world.

  Post-publication note: 10 minutes after I hit post the rain stopped ticking against my window because it is now heavy white flakes of snow. I really need snow tires.


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