The Pleasures of Solitude: A Walk in the Park
“I love not Man the less, but Nature More.” Lord Byron
One of my favorite things to do each day is to spend an hour walking my dog Lily in the Presidio. I am fortunate that our house in San Francisco is only a block away from this National Park, which boast 25 miles of trails, with the terrain ranging from sandy beaches to forests and flowering meadows.
You could say it’s one of my guilty pleasures, not because I’m gobbling up a big box of chocolate bonbons while doing so. Simple: because it’s selfish. It’s all mine out there, all mine and what I crave is solitude.
Shutting out the noise and commotion of society is one of the ways that I court pleasure.I leave behind the news of another black man being shot by police, talk of the upcoming Presidential election between two of the most unpopular candidates in history and the encroaching demands of Twitter, instagram and Facebook.
By now, I know what trails to take to avoid running into too many fellow hikers. On overcast days, Lily and I are usually alone and often deep in the woods.
When I do pass a hiker, I’m always annoyed by how many of them are glued to their cell phones jabbering away; robbing me of silence. I would much rather hear bird songs, gurgling rivulets and Lily thrashing through the underbrush than their one sided conversations.
We are all living such public lives these days. It’s truly a pleasure, whether guilty or not, to escape from noise and demands. I try to do it every day.
Something that you probably don’t know about me is that my first language to read and write was French, that I have a weakness for Kettle Cooked Lays potato chip and that still sing the alphabet (to my self, thank God !)