Solitude vs. Lonliness (a Vignette)

Standing upon this hill, I feel the sense of solitude as a meditation. I could contemplate different aspects of my own life, or I could get out of my Self to look upon the village below.

I focus on the church bell hanging within the white steeple, the tallest point around. I imagine the life of the bell ringer, how she comes early to church on Sundays with a plate full of muffins for the pastor. She rings the bell to tell the village it’s time to wake up.

I look to the right an inch and study the mural on the old brick building next to the park. I wonder about the painter…Did he have a family to feed? Did he make more than a pittance for his work? Or was he only a young man, trying to put his mark on the world, even in this small village?

A barn stands in the distance and I wonder if there is a teenager inside milking a cow, wearing her rubber boots and resenting her parents for making her do chores before school. Does she have to walk through chicken muck to collect fresh eggs? Will she put feed out for the ducks?

Across the valley the sun peeks between two mountains. The grass is crisp with its silver dewy tinge.  A shepherd walks around his sheep, counting. The sheep bleat, straining for a rub from their master. They chew and move slowly with their heavy winter fleece coats.

I stare at one who looks like she knows a secret – something I do not know. She looks directly at me. I feel her ask me what I am doing up here on this hill alone at the crack of dawn. I ask myself this same question, feeling at one with the land and village.

Alone, but not lonely.

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