My seven mile hike yesterday was gorgeous. I ended up coming back to the campsite on a trail I hadn't found before but which leads to a network of footpaths that meander through woodland up to Dartmoor. There's a picnic table with a view within ten minutes of here which will come in rather handy for al fresco suppers when the evenings get lighter. And then after a light lunch of bagels and smoked salmon I napped...a lot. Now that was something that I hadn't anticipated. But then that's the beauty of being alone without firm plans. You can do exactly what takes your fancy without having to think about the needs of others. It made for a very stress-free Christmas indeed.
From personal experience I know that there's a vast difference between solitude and loneliness. Even though I'm a very sociable soul I've craved time by myself since childhood. I find it restorative and suffer if I am forced to spend too much time with others. In researching this topic I've gone off piste and come across the Hassidic practice of Hitbodedbut. It involves pouring your heart out to God in a field or forest in order to unblock negativity that obstructs the realisation of the divine within. I might give it a go today. Knowing my luck I'll probably divulge all my inner secrets to some passing dog walker instead of the almighty. Maybe it might be just as therapeutic!