There is a vast difference between being alone and being lonely… I have felt most lonely when in a group of people but seldom have I felt that way when I am alone…I am by nature a solitary person… fortunately for me so is my mate. I find that one of the nicest things in my life is being alone with him… Especially now as the days are shorter, the nights are (hopefully) cooler and the time of regeneration is upon us. Like the wild ones, in this season I retreat more into my den and into myself… Don’t get me wrong, I come from a large family and I love them fiercely… but I am only able to take them as a whole in small doses without having a meltdown… For years I tried to be excited about the large group festivities that occur at this time of year… Madly throwing myself into preparation and being as involved as I possibly could… And then, I moved far away and discovered the joy of being alone. I understand that it’s not for everyone… One of my sisters was visiting when I lived in Nevada and after remarking how nice my place was , how quiet and peaceful, she said that she could never live there… it was too lonely, to far away from people… For her, it would be punishment to live in solitude but for me it is paradise. My mother is uncomfortable staying out at our house alone because we are “in the country” – too far from other people and yet, to my mind we simply live in an overgrown subdivision… I hear car doors slam, voices raised in conversation etc. I have never been more uneasy than when I lived in town next door to people… The closeness making me hyper-vigilant, unable to relax. We are working hard to get our home ready to sell. When it sells we will move to Idaho, further from “civilization” …more into the wilds where I feel comfortable and safe… This desire for seclusion is in no way a comment on how we feel about our family and friends… they are always welcome in our home and we will always be there for them if they need us… but we need our solitude… our haven from the bustling madness that is the 21st century… Henry David Thoreau wrote “In wilderness is the preservation of the world.” I don”t know about “the world” but it is definitely the preservation of me.