Writer and librarian Doug Dechow spent five weeks at Dorland Mountain Arts Colony at the end of the summer. A social person, he expected to struggle without daily interactions with other people. While I spent weekends there with him, I drove away each Monday, and he remained alone during the week. There was no nearby coffee shop, no one he knew for miles, just the wildlife and the landscape. He expected loneliness or longing during these days of solitude.
Instead, he experienced the unexpected. He writes, “Quiet is a remarkable thing. I don’t just mean the absence of sound, although that is certainly part of it. I mean to imply the quietude that results from an absence of distractions. Being alone gave rise to a stillness in me that allowed me to create a space where the primary thing in my mind was the work, the novel. In the end, being alone wasn’t hard at all. In fact, I liked it.” Now, back at his day job, he longs for solitude, its calm, and the focus it can bring.