Monday, January 07, 2008

My Bench of Solitude

There is a place of solitude where I go to read. A place where there is no noise… no cars, no people, no anything … well, almost no anything. It is a bench I call the Bench of Solitude. Now there are times where even there, I cannot retreat to due to an invasion of some distraction and so then I hide in the confinements of my car to read and even then, I will park my car near my favourite bench. Unfortunately, the forces of nature also make it very difficult for me to sit at my bench. Presently it is under an unwelcome pile of snow. Thank goodness for my car heater!

I was never tested but I swear I have an attention deficit disorder which I think invaded my mind at an older age. I remember as a high school student, I would sit in the library over the many lunch hours and read science fiction greats such as Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and C.S. Lewis. Once I got to university, my love for reading waned as I had to give up my fiction for the non-fiction assigned to me by the professors who had nothing better to do but bore us to tears with written words I could care less about.

By the time I graduated from university, I gained a dislike for reading and for the next twenty years or so I never read a single book. It was as if I lost the will to read or maybe just plain forgot how to enjoy it. By the time I started reading again, I found that I had to find a place of absolute solace before I could crack open a book.

Lately, I have been able to take a little bit of background noise but I still enjoy complete silence in order to read.

Though I still enjoy science fiction, my interests have changed more to novels dealing with archaeology and anthropology. I think if I was to do “it” all over again, I would find myself on digs in such remote places like Africa and Egypt. Maybe I would find myself on dangerous digs in places like the Arctic… who knows. For those of like mind, you might want to consider reading novels by Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child or James Rollins.

And so, as I feel the needs to read, I head off in my car and make my way to park near my favourite bench… my place of solitude where no one can disturb me.

40 comments:

Gypsy said...

It looks like a bit of a chilly place to sit at the moment but I imagine it's very peaceful sitting on that lonely bench. I used to have a favourite table in a courtyard at a pub where I would often write. No-one ever went out there except for me. Slowly people started to discover how beautiful it was so now I have to find a new place to go. *Sigh* I guess it's no longer the best kept secret.

Hammer said...

It's spooky, I had similar issues and would always escape inside a book. Then life took over and I didn't read for almost 20 years.

Now I'm reading Heinlein, Bradbury and Asimov.

My quiet reading time is also in the car or in the bathroom.

Cheryl said...

Like you, I need complete silence to read. I am also a huge fan of audio books. I am never without one.

Wanda said...

Interesting...A did a two year personal study on the Spritual Disciplines. Of course the first three, are Silence, Solitude and Meditation. It was a great study, in fact I made a workbook and taught it at a Women's Retreat.

Your picture of the bench, is a wonderful visual for the theme of your post.

Good work Mike, really enjoyed it.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I like your Bench of Solitude. My kind of place. My reading is also bad. Maybe one book a year in recent times. However, I tend to re-read books like I am visiting an old friend.

Belizegial said...

Dave, thanks for visiting my blog.
I am also like minded in the sense that I enjoy reading in the middle of the night when the house is completely quiet. At the moment, my favorite place to read is curled up on my sofa.

Hope that your new year is going well and that you will enjoy many pleasant times of reading on your bench of solitude.

Saludos,
Enid

heiresschild said...

you know what Dave? i feel the same exact way. i've always been a voracious reader, but i've been in school for the past 6 yrs (culinary school & now finishing up a degree in bus adm/bus mgt), so basically school textbooks and any school-assigned books are all i've been reading. i've been on a break the past year, but i was so glad NOT to have to read anything, that i haven't. i now have 3 books i've been trying to read, but just haven't done so. any day now. i find i like absolute quiet now also.

Oswegan said...

I had the same issue, but I think it was law school that made me sick of reading. I am gradually picking it up again.

~Oswegan

Janice Thomson said...

Let's get together Dave - I have ALWAYS wanted to go on an archaeological dig - I can't imagine anything more exciting than digging up past history and surmising what the item is, how it was used, how old it is etc etc.
Dr Zahi Hawass has excellent sites where you can see some of his digs and the items they uncovered. I love all the sites on Egypt and Machu Picchu for instance.
I think books should be read in silence so the author's thoughts become your own so to speak.

alicesg said...

The snow looked very thick. Beautiful picture of snow. Everyone has their own favourite corner. My favourite corner will be by the beach. I love sitting under the coconut tree to relax. Hopefully the coconut will not drop on my head... :)

Smalltown RN said...

OH I wish I read more....reading was always so difficult for me growing up with my dsylexia....my sister got me reading some great books..and now I read...but like you I need minimal distraction...actually I prefer to be in a room by myself....no music on background noise nothing...just me and my book....

Gudl said...

Heh, I looked at the bench and thought "that is my bench"!!
We have one just like this in our woods and last week i took a photo when it was covered with snow, too!
Maybe I will show it one of those days on my blog. When i sit on my bench I usually pray.
I know what you mean that you need quiteness to read. I am the same.

BBC said...

My Bench of Solitude is at a beach at the side of the little used hiking trail. It's so peaceful there.

My next place of solitude, 'retreat', is the camp trailer I'm restoring.

For the most part I avoid reading fiction, it's just an escape and I prefer to tackle reality head on.

Yup, lots of things to be discovered around small towns, especially the friendly country people.

I've always been country, always will be. I don't live fancy & don't need or want to.

SOUL: said...

now you're thinkin.. if ya park by the bench, you can at least run the heater for a while every few minutes :))

and i got what you were sayin
i love that song too--obviously

Akelamalu said...

I can read and watch the television at the same time! My most favourite place to read is in a hot country whilst lying on a sunlounger listening to the sea. :)

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

Strange that, university reading also put me off reading for a long time. Fortunately the love of reading returned but like you, I also need a quiet place.

KOSTAS said...

Snow
All it makes beautifully, the muds, the rust, ugly,
all it changes, forms, colours, the sentiments.
All him it forgives, the reasons and the errors, but never the sin. A lot of interest the subject and most excellent the corner of reception.

Golden To Silver Val said...

Seems like the older we get the harder it is to concentrate. One of my favorite places to read is my couch with the house silent. To be part of an archaeological dig appeals to me too, but I know I could never do it. I don't have the patience. If I saw a tip of something, I'd want to grab and shovel and start furiously digging away to get at it...and that's a big no-no! I'd be kicked out in a hurry!
So glad you go back into reading though. Its such a great escape!
Stay warm! Val

Lane said...

That looks like a great spot to read ... when you can sit down:-)

I prefer to read in silence and indoors without distractions. Mind you if I found a spot like that ..?

geewits said...

That's funny that reading seems so much harder as we get older. I used to sit for hours curled up in an easy chair to read, and now it just kills my left shoulder. I've tried to study what is causing the problem and can't quite figure it out. Now the best way to read without hurting myself is at a desk or table, but who wants to sit in a kitchen chair for hours? I can also read in the tub, but again, not a place you can sit for too long. I'm glad you've found a place that works for you and I hope it will be snow and chill free soon.

Jocelyn said...

Due to the role books have played in my life--the everpresent best friend--I am overjoyed to read about your reconnection with them.

And that place of solitude? Lovely.

A writer named Mae Sarton wrote a great deal about her need for solitude in her very engaging journals (if you're ever looking for a new type of thing to read).

CS said...

I sed to be able to walk down the chaotic halls of my highschool, reading as I went. Now I can't concentrate like that. Having cildren has ruined me. I read best when I'm home alone, curled up on the couch with no distractions.

alexander said...

That's a beautiful shot. I always like it after it snow. Lovely!

Alexander
Alex's World! - http://www.kakinan.com/alex

Portia said...

Your pictures are striking. I have always enjoyed reading, but the forced nature of assignments drained much of the joy when I was a student. I don't get to read as much these days but even still, little else compares to finding a really good book.

Mother of Invention said...

You need your own little inner sanctum inside! With a fireplace! Well, you can dream...we have a summer bedroom add-0n to our house that is great for reading. There is even a balcony that goes out off it and you can sit there during summer rains and storms and just read or take "it" all in. It's my fav place! The inner-outer sanctum I guess!

imac said...

Hi Dave, you have one interesting blog here, and very heartfelt.Sorry to hear about your father, I lost mine when he was only 56 and my mother 2 years ago, so I know how you felt.

I also can ubderstand your bench too, you get wrapped up in a book, altho I dont read so much now this blogging has taken over haha.

Thanks for visiting my lil ol blog and your kind comments.

kunal bhatia said...

the place does look like a spot where no one would be able to disturb you, quite difficult to find such spots nowdays. maybe its looking so deserted because of the snow. in anycase, thats a good photograph and story to go with it too...
Mindless Mumbai

Jazz said...

Wow, I can't imagine not wanting to read. I've been a voracious reader since as long as I can remember, and even university didn't change that. Mr. Jazz is like you. The tons of assigned reading just turned him off reading completly.

I, on the other hand, forgot my book at home today and I'm already feeling panicky about lunch hour and the ride home with nothing to read.

quin[tarantino] said...

Dave, I love to read in silence too. Anf there is another thing that I also don´t like: people standing on my back when I'm reading or writting.

beachgirl said...

Hi Dave,
I was diagnosed at 44 with severe ADHD. My family all laughed and said "YA THINK!!!!".
I find solitude on the beach to read. It's the only place I can focus long enough to pull it off. I also have a reading retention issue. I've had it my whole life. Still can't focus to save myself. But i do well outside and in motion. And take great pictures.
I hope your enjoying the snow. I spent the day yesterday in the car in the Keys taking pictures. My sweetie is a great sport. He understands my need to shoot lots of pictures and likes to drive me around. A peaceful day for sure.

Keep warm and have an awesome day!!

C in DC said...

In order to get through college and grad school readings, I found I had to do a little reading for "fun" most days. By taking that little break, it revived the analytical part of my brain. Glad you're finding joy in reading again.

Sandy said...

I'm the same way, noise disturbs me if I am trying to read. Looks like you have found a bench of solitude that fits you well. I like the photo.

Kerri said...

Oh Dave, What an absolutely stunning shot of the bench. Not sure if you know or not.....but I LOVE BENCHES! They are one of my favorite subjects to photograph!
And I LOVE this one!

I LOVE to read also... I am a big fan of Preston/Child books. I haven't read James Rollins. What do you recommend of his?

Do you have a favorite out of the Preston/Child books? The first one I read was Cabinet of Curiousities...I Loved it!

jAMiE said...

I used to love to read and needed silence too..i struggle to be able to read now with my tumour, it has affected my reading comprehension and short term memory.

Enjoy your books and your quiet time..it wont be long before you have your bench back!

Monika said...

I think it's sad that you can't read at home. I've always loved to read, since I learned it, and even though I don't read as much as I used to, I never stopped reading. Then again, I had no Professors who made me read stuff I didn't want to read.

Alok said...

It is a post tht we can all relate to so well ... our wordly duties taking away our inherent passions ... I enjoyed reading this post immensely


Alok

Anna said...

Hi Dave, firstly you made me laugh by saying: 'Unfortunately, the forces of nature also make it very difficult for me to sit at my bench. Presently it is under an unwelcome pile of snow. Thank goodness for my car heater!' - soon as I read the title and first few lines and seeing the photo, oh I knew what you were going to say. Nice twist. I don't think you have the attention deficit disorder, we just get tired of doing things, or even when we get excited too much. Its like getting ready for the trip, and getting really excited, and when we get there we are tired of excitement, and our expectations turn into disappointment. Simple, excess tires us out. I been like that too for me, but then I learned that balance and steady and conservative behavior really works good for me. I still get moments of happiness, but I keep them low. Likewise, I don't read too much now, since I think I reach my quota too fast, hopefully it will not happen with my blogging, however, I already slowed down, lol. So you need quite. For me as long as it is not repetitive noise, it does not bother me, the very quiet puts me to sleep. Well, I drop here to write simple note, but your post sparked lot of good stuff, btw, thanks for visiting my blog, it is appreciated. Thanks again, and I really love the photo of your bench. Anna :)

Emperor Ropi said...

I like reading despite sometimes I have to open my chemistry or biology notebook. If you can choose books to read it reflects your personality which is good.

Becky Wolfe said...

Yes, we are similar in that regards. I have a few places where I like to go for solitude, but at this time of year, I will take my car there & sit (when there is a few) in the warmth & comfort of my heated seats & opt for solitude that way as well!

Hmm, Africa & Egypt, yes, I'd love to be discovering things there too. Its my inner Lara Croft wanting adventure & discovery!

Maybe you'll get there one day!

Isadora said...

I love this photo :)