Being alone

Eric describes his scavenger hunt for moose sheds with the zeal of a geology grad student on an African safari. He retires at 7:30 p.m. in the rear of his Durango; he falls asleep to the call of nearby loons. Rising at 5:30 a.m., and stepping through the deep Maine wilderness for hours and hours searching for sheds, the only sound he hears when he stops for a bit of lunch is the sound of the wind.

Now Holly has two cats. She's around folks all day at work, but mostly when she's home, beside black and white Nickie and Natalie, she's alone. She will take an overnight in Santa Fe every now and then, sometimes with a friend, sometimes alone.

I live with my cat Scarlet at road's end, high up the side of a mountain, in a house with very little space to hang art because of the abundance of windows set through which to view other mountains and many valleys and various critters of land and air. I'm not a woodsman, but I take a daily hike behind my house to the ridge of the mountain, alone, worshiping nature's many gifts each step of the way. My hikes take and hour or two.

I'm not as hardy as Eric in that I'd rather sleep in a comfortable bed then in the back of a rig. Eric, my sister, and I apparently would just as soon sleep alone.

I'm often asked, "You don't have kids? Aren't you scared you'll be alone when you get older with no one to take care of you?"

No. I'm alone now and not scared. Am I going to change when I'm 75 and start not enjoying living alone? I doubt it.

I know a woman with six kids, grandkids numbering in the teens, and a few great grandkids. She's age 75, widowed, seemingly doing quite well, but if you talk with her it becomes apparent that she's nearly always feeling very alone, lonesome, depressed, her kids say. I know for a fact that a couple of this woman's kids and grandkids check in with her a day or two a week-so for her to say she's always alone isn't literally accurate. She just feels alone in relation to her hey day when her husband was alive and her kids were all younger and at home. And this she feels with kids, grandkids and great grand kids living all very close to her, many in the same small town.

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