From what I can remember of my childhood, I always had that place. That place where everything could come to a stop, and I could be. Admittedly, that was not easy with an overly protective mother and pain-in-the-neck little brother. Still, I could find solitude for a time when needed.
One of my favorite places was my front yard at night as a teenager. We lived in a semi-rural area, and I had a great telescope. Everyone, except my dog, knew to let me be on a cloudless night. I had better things to do than watch television, play some silly game or plan an adventure that would never get past my mom.
Each major change in my life changed my place of solitude. The setting was often similar, a dark place on a cloudless night, but what made it my place of solitude changed. Today, when possible, I still spend time watching the night sky.
I use a different toy to help with skywatching today. My DSLR camera makes the telescope of my youth seem prehistoric. Of course, the advancements in optics are somewhat overshadowed by the fact many of my former places of solitude no longer exist or are no longer accessible to me.
The worst loss was the location pictured on the right. Day or night, this was a place of solitude, contemplation, prayer, or simply being. Even the occasional intrusions by family friends or others who live along the Guadalupe River could not destroy the feeling one had sitting alongside the slow-moving water. The plants waved in the breeze, the wildlife foraged, and the sun or moon made its passage across the sky.
I no longer have the privilege of sitting along that stretch of river. Still, I have the memories of what it felt like, and that is where I often go today when I need a moment of peace and solitude, my memories.
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