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The Tree House Chronicles: Outside, an Internal Exploration of Solitude, Part Four
“The Tree House Chronicles: Outside, an Internal Exploration of Solitude” is a series created in self isolation in a tree house in the woods. “The Tree House Chronicles: Outside, an Internal Exploration of Solitude” explores my experiences with solitude. Beginning in childhood’s quiet moments, growing roots in my teens as I read the stories of lonely artists(1) and a solitary family(2), and solidifying as I confront a world altered by COVID-19.
…continued from Week 21, Week 23, Week 25
Existing Within Solitude
Four years and dozens of letters later, in her latest missive (as she often described our letters), Lynn quoted stanzas of poetry to chronicle the feeling of loosing sight in her right eye. Concluding the letter with her own words, the day after winter solstice (3), “tomorrow is today, today will be longer than yesterday, and spring is on its way.”
Today is that spring but it brings the unexpected, a pandemic and profound solitude. But in this isolation, I can feel Lynn’s presence in the letters strewn across my table, each typewritten letter signed with her name and a drawing of a bird: a single line bent into two curves. And I imagine the little bird flying through the space between us, our connection made possible by, and existing within, our solitudes.
The Interdependence of Solitude
Within Lynn’s letters, and now experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic, I have learned that solitude can prompt deep and lasting connection. A connection that begins with a small act of curiosity, a phone call, an email, a text, a letter, a stamp. A connection that may fuel you for the long term, as art fueled Ruth Asawa. A connection that may remind you —whether you are home alone or with others, whether you are working endlessly in hospitals and factories and grocery stores— that you are not alone in your aloneness. A connection that may gift you just enough encouragement to encounter solitude’s “interdependence” as philosopher Hannah Arendt expressed,
“I am not simply together only with myself in the solitude […] I remain in this world of universal interdependence”. (4)
…Continued on Week 29
*Endnotes and Resources
1. Laing, Olivia. “The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone”. 2016.
2. García Márquez, Gabriel. “One Hundred Years of Solitude”. 1967.
3. Daniels-Moehle, Nadia. “Week 7: Winter Solstice: How to Be in the Dark“. December 2019.
4. Arendt, Hannah. “Between Past and Future“. 1961. Page 242.
People, Works, Terms Mentioned:
*All references and resources have been thoroughly researched prior to use.