Thinking about ‘Solitude of Self’

By Wendy Nugent, Newton Now

Last night, as I took my dog for a walk near Sand Creek, I thought about something I read in college: “The Solitude of Self,” written by Elizabeth Cady Stanton.

In it, she wrote about equal rights for women and men. But she also addressed the aloneness of every person. Every person is separate from every other person. No one really, really knows what another person is truly going through or feeling.

I recall that latter part striking me in college. I had never thought about how we’re all separate and “alone.” We can have friends and loved ones, but no one is us; no one truly knows what each of us is going through. We can empathize with our own experiences, but we truly never know.

While I was on my walk, there weren’t that many people around. We went down Fourth Street, the street of many dogs, hearing them bark from their yards or inside homes. Saw a few people out, but not many. Some people were out enjoying the fresh air from their porches.

Given the nice weather, I expected to see more folks out, strolling along the creek. But no. Not that many people around.

Then I thought of “The Solitude of Self.” Yes, there were people out, but we all stayed away from each other. I did say hi to one lady sitting on her porch, and a couple passing me on Fourth Street gave some pleasantries.

Even outside, there is an aloneness. Inside Wal-Mart might be a different story, but I haven’t been in there in quite some time. I hear they might limit the number of customers they allow in stores.

It really felt good to get out and walk around. I’m isolating with my dog, Astrid, and since all my kids are grown, I haven’t seen them in quite some time. I miss them. I also haven’t seen my boyfriend. I talk on the phone with all of them, but being near them in person is so much better. Being around another person, there’s just an energy there you don’t get from a phone visit.

Recently, I’ve taken to visiting with friends via Zoom, an app that allows you to meet one on one or in groups, but it’s really weird. Well, I’ve only done it once, and I didn’t really like it. It was quite foreign to me.

I’m writing this at home, alone, with Astrid, and I plan to go into work to do layout on production day in just a bit. Since journalists are deemed essential, we can go to work and get the paper together, staying six feet apart when possible.

The rest of the week, we work from home. We don’t want to pass any germs to anyone.

I also have enjoyed the solitude. I talk to people on the phone when I want to and watch TV shows I like or shows that are just bizarre, like “Tiger King.” That is one crazy show. I’m sure Tiger King blames the COVID-19 pandemic on Carol Baskin (that’s her name, but that’s not what Joe Exotic calls her).

Be safe out there, everyone, and enjoy the solitude of self. Let’s hope it doesn’t last real long.

 

Wendy Nugent is the features editor and lead photographer for Newton Now. She can be reached at wendy@harveycountynow.com or 316-281-7899.