30: Savoring Loneliness

Some nights are made for torture, or reflection, or the savoring of loneliness.

Poppy Z. Brite

I’m leaning on the hood of the truck, taking in another spring in one of my favorite picnic spots. It’s an old cemetery in one of my favorite communities, Westfield, NY.

I have stopped in the same spot every season for nearly a decade. I take a picture from the same location, rain, shine, sleet, or snow in the morning, noon, or night.

Something in this place tugs at my spirit. I find solace around these grand maple trees lining this narrow path leading up to these ancient monuments. Monuments etched with reminders of local myths and legends. Every monument here is a quotation mark on a lifetime of stories; every marker a reminder of the impermanence of it all.

I wonder how many secrets are taken to the grave here? How much joy and sorrow was left behind by these men, women, and children for others to suss through?

I eat breakfast here, sitting on the hood of the car, reflecting on yesterday, living for today, and leaning into tomorrow.

I never really understood what it was about me that drew me to this place or the hundreds of other cemeteries that I have visited. Today I am reminded how these places of peacefulness and solitude strengthens me. Cemeteries are full of impermanent monuments marking the impermanence of life and, by extension, the transience of suffering and joy.

I realize that when I come here, I am unconsciously visiting my loneliness. Over the last several years I have grown to recognize how much I savor these moments.

Moving forward, that is how I’m going to approach my relationship with the feeling of loneliness. “I’m not feeling lonely; I’m savoring it.”