Spaces in Togetherness

I haven’t been writing much recently – either in the blogs or on my novel, or in any other genre – and it’s taken me a while to work out why.  For a number of reasons – mostly to do with house renovation work – when I’ve gone walking, I’ve gone with BD.  And as much as I love my husband, and like walking with him, it’s a different experience than walking alone.

BD’s a talker.  I’m not.  So while walking with him is a good time to talk out issues, or brainstorm ideas, it’s not conducive to the half-daydreaming, let-the-thoughts-swirl workings of my creative mind. Sooner or later (sooner, I think) I’m going to get bitchy.  I need to write.  To write, I need alone time, preferably walking-alone time.

It seems so silly, to take two cars in different directions to walk separately.  (We may live in the country, but the roads are busy enough, and hilly, and there are no sidewalks and no real shoulders, so walking from the front door is unwise except early on weekend mornings.)  If I add a walk to my errand trips to town, all well and good; I’m there anyway.  But I am having trouble giving myself permission to not walk with BD, when it’s the more sustainable/less consumptive option on any given day.

But, of course, I must, or I won’t write.  And it’s not like this is new revelation.  The title of this post is a paraphrase of a quote from Kahil Gibran, and was part of the reading I did at our wedding, thirty-four years ago.  I knew then I needed that alone time.  We’ve had twenty-five years of summers off together to practice what retirement life would be like, and this issue has come up then too.  It’s not even really a ‘problem’: unless we haven’t seen each other for some days, BD is completely happy to walk without me – in fact, he mostly prefers it, as he acknowledges that my presence means he is less observant of his environment, and therefore he sees fewer birds.

So the real problem is my unconscious falling into patterns of behaviour because they are familiar, or appear superficially easier, or satisfy an immediate need rather than a long-term one.  Problems almost all of us confront, daily or weekly.  The problems that remind us that life isn’t to be lived on automatic pilot, but should be considered, contemplated, parsed.  That give us opportunities to outgrow habits and behaviours that are not healthy, and grow towards ones that are.

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