When from our better selves we have too long
Been parted by the hurrying world, and droop,
Sick of its business, of its pleasures tired,
How gracious, how benign is Solitude!
I arrived at the Hambidge Center in Rabun Gap, GA in the summer of 1988. It was late at night. In the darkness, I drove into the driveway after my long journey from western Pennsylvania. I walked to the main house where I met the manager who would take me to where I would live for the next month. I was going to be doing a Residency and would be given a studio and place to live where I could do my art every day. It was a great opportunity and a dream come true for me.
My guide said, “I hope you like isolation.” My reply was, “Oh, yes! I love isolation.” The fact is, I did not have an inkling what isolation was but it sounded good to me.
Of course, I had no idea what isolation truly was for I had just arrived at this isolated art colony deep in the Georgia mountains. My normal life was back in Pennsylvania where I managed my busy home and family. I cooked meals from scratch every day for my husband and 5 children. My homemade pies were famous among the ladies at my church. The first thing I did each morning was 3 loads of Laundry. In between the layers of the business of taking care of husband, kids, dogs, cats, and anything else that came up, I was a non-traditional student pursuing the Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. Every spare moment I could find, I painted. Painting was my obsession.
Driving up the steep mountain road, I followed his car. Then we turned onto a pathway to the isolated little house where I would be living and working. After the man left me there, alone, in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains – in utter darkness – I began to get an idea of what solitude would be like. While I was excited to be there, to have this opportunity, I was also stuck with the reality (and fear) of solitude.
My life was changing. I was diagnosed with breast cancer just 2 months before this trip. And, my father died 2 weeks before the day I found myself alone at night in a strange place where I would live for the next month. My nerves were a frazzle.
But, the month I spent there, away from everyone and everything that was my normal life was one of the most productive times in my creative life. In this mountain solitude, I was united with my “better self.” Twenty-nine years later, I remain at peace and solidly united with my “better self.”
|Article and Photography by Lunda McKinney Lambert.
Copyright, May 16, 2017. Lynda McKinney Lambert. All rights reserved.
Lynda McKinney Lambert
Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage (Kota Press), 2002.
Walking by Inner Vision: Stories & Poems, DLD Books, 2017
Lynda is a Peer Adviser and writes articles on sight loss and blindness for Vision Aware Blog
CONTACT ME: firstname.lastname@example.org