the desire for hermitage

Ah! To be all alone in a little cell with nobody near me;
beloved that pilgrimage before the last pilgrimage to Death.
Singing the passing hours to cloudy Heaven;
feeding upon dry bread and water from the cold spring.
That will be an end to evil when I am alone
in a lovely little corner among tombs
far from the houses of the great.
Ah! to be all alone in a little cell,
to be alone, all alone:
Alone I came into the world,
alone I shall go from it.

Who can name the composer who set this text to music? I bet a bunch of you can, actually. This is fairly well-known, at least among musicians. Bonus points for anyone who can tell me what date this week is significant and why.

I've been craving alone time lately. I don't know exactly why. Probably because I don't get any alone time except when I'm taking a shower or in the car buzzing from home to rehearsal to home to get Daniel for preschool, from preschool back to get the idea.*

This is the plight of mothers everywhere, isn't it? I don't mean to complain, exactly, because I know I have things better than a lot of people. But this morning everyone woke up grouchy and impatient, me worst of all, and things have gone south from there, I'm afraid. I almost started crying when I heard a Haitian girl sing a praise song on NPR this morning. It's a song I don't particularly like (reminds me too much of church camp from adolescence) but this child was singing so clearly and beautifully and her pitch was so dead-on, and here I was standing in the kitchen looking at the fog and gloom outside feeling sorry for myself while hearing this beautiful singing from a person who has most certainly experienced devastating loss and upheaval...well. It put things in perspective for me, even if it didn't improve my mood.

I so desperately could use a whole week at home. Alone. Purely for selfish reasons, of course. If I had a week to myself here I would clean the house from top to bottom, have lots of distraction-free practice time, do some reading, some knitting, and lots of re-organizing and cleaning out of closets, shelves and desks, and get a good night's sleep for once. At least, that's what I imagine I would do. In reality, I'd probably get anxious and lonely and not accomplish much. Not that any of this matters, of course, because I won't be getting a week to myself, at least not any time soon.

I should just stop fantasizing about what I want and deal with the here and now. Sometimes, that is really hard to do.

*ETA: Maybe I should count practice time as alone time, too. And Stuart is pretty good about giving me a little breathing room on weekends, but I usually just take advantage of the opportunity to run other errands without having the kids along.


Animal said…
As an only child of a single parent, I grew up with lots of alone time, with the result that now, as an adult, if I DON'T get some regular alone time, I go fairly batty. Really. I get quite unpleasant to be around. Being a parent certainly puts a crink in it, though, as you suggest. I've been lucky that over the last few summers, I have HAD that "alone week" you suggest would be so great…and, yes, it WAS great. And, yes, I spent much of it anxious and missing my family. Only to wish I had it back practically the minute they walked in the door. I guess that's human dichotomy, for ya.

Be well…the fog & gloom will pass.
Rachel said…
Call me. There's an actual hermitage of sorts here that my neighbors go to. Inexpensive. You can rent a room for a half day. Lots of nature. It's not the same as being at home, but I have thought that it would be...restful.
Suze said…
Rachel, I will call you sometime. It's been ages, I know.

Animal, today was pleasant and almost sunny, so much better than yesterday. I think Michigan weather is twice as gloomy as ours this time of year. Thanks for the support!
Steph said…
I'm on spring break this week--I'll call. Not that this gets you any closer to having alone time!

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