The Lessons of Loneliness

What are the lessons of loneliness? The lessons of loneliness are the lessons of I and thou, awareness and acceptance, of being and breathing, like Zen. Consider a haiku about the full moon rising through the iron railroad bridge, built in 1902. I’ll always remember this bridge. If it weren’t for what we carry around with us we’d all be monkeys yet why did I pick up this fear of waiting? Waiting is a lesson of loneliness and this fear is a lesson of waiting. Out on the railroad tracks I’d be all right; I’d pry in the dark between creosote ties lest I trip and jab into crumbs of granite, a matter of survival, to love myself well. But in my apartment I am comfortable enough to pace the floor abstracted by greater things— culture, Zen, monkeys, and missing the woman whom I could share these lessons with. Culture—that is, the lessons of loneliness.

22 July 1986