It was blowing a steady WNW at 15-20. The prevailing wind had stirred up a cauldron of storm clouds, they were heaving and ugly, and they were barrelling our way. I'd grabbed the big basket and dashed out the door and across the grass to rescue the laundry before it was too late. Now I stood alone at the clothesline, white sheets flapping around me. With one eye on the streaky black clouds, I walked between the lines, running my hands over the smooth sheets, feeling for dampness.
They were dry.
Sometimes, you need to be alone. Quiet (or music cranked, depending), with only your own thoughts, with only your own needs. Respite.
With all the bonding that's been cultivated in our family, we also know the value there is in being by oneself. Many of us who live in this little house have the personality type that gets recharged, not by interacting with people, but by being alone.
With an aviator husband whose 'office' is in the air, I've spent a significant portion of our years as a solo parent, and have discovered along the way where some of these pockets of respite lie. For me, a closed door can provide the perfect lull. An ipod and set of earbuds can become a glass room. A walk by the river is solitude, indeed. So is a morning run.
I treasure my early morning hours when no one else is awake. The house is quiet and dark, and I never tire of hearing the calm of night awakened by morning birdsong. Sometimes at mid-day, I'll feed the boys their lunch, then send them outside while I have a leisurely lunch alone, with good food and a good book. Nice and slow.
But best of all is when daddy's home and he & the boys cook up a plan for a day away (or sometimes several), and I get to stay home alone for a total relax.
The boys need solitude, too, even more as they get older, I'm finding. In the younger years, a few minutes alone with a favorite book was enough, but now a bunk with a curtain and an ipod with earbuds, or a good book on the Kindle is necessary and appreciated. Or, they might wander into the pasture alone, climb a tree, or shoot hoops solo, grabbing the solitude they need without even realizing they're doing it.
Every so often, we'll strategically plan over-nights with friends so that two boys are away and only one boy is at home to have the loft, the evening, and the next morning all to himself. This has been a favorite ... and then, often, as I smile to myself, before long the brother at home starts missing his boys and wonders aloud when they're coming back.
For my husband, the mornings between breakfast and lunch are his time to enjoy the quiet downstairs while the rest of us are busy with school in the loft. He'll often take to the back country roads in his truck for an afternoon drive to recharge as well.
The moments find us.
Quick, pull the pins, toss the bedding into the basket. Race back to the house, hurry, beat the storm!
I stopped, caught by the heavy, expectant atmosphere, caught by the beautiful, pregnant lull before the storm clouds ruptured and the rain was born. I was caught in that place, alone, between the lines.
Moments passed, and I was there, caught by extravagant solitude.