Monday, December 16, 2013

a sudden stillness takes hold of you

Do You Know This Too?

by Herman Hesse

Do you know this too?
You are in the middle of a cheerful party,
when a sudden stillness takes hold of you,
and you hastily have to leave the happy hall.

Back in your bed you lay awake
like someone suffering from a sudden heartache.
the fun and laughter disappear like smoke
and you break into tears: do you know this too?

from The Seasons of the Soul
translated by Ludwig Max Fischer

Perhaps this Hesse poem sounds a little dramatic, and yet, I understand it completely. I've been telling people that I only have so many extrovert tokens per month and I've all but used them for December. And the holidays haven't even really begun yet.....

These days, I leave parties when I'm ready, and when I'm invited somewhere and feel I'm not able to go because I need to be alone, I very often decline.

When I've been too much with people, even those I love, those I adore, I sometimes come home and suffer from a difficult to describe heartache, though it's usually small these days. Usually. I'm better at managing this, partly because I accept that it's normal and that in some respects, it's good. It's just one of the ways the soul speaks and reminds us how beautiful it is to be fragile.

Afterwards, I sit up in bed and read something, often poetry. For a couple of weeks lately, I've turned to Mansfield Park, which I've read a few times in the past, but not for ages.

In winter it's easier to let the inner stillness take hold. To calm and quiet the mind.

Our yard has filled up with snow and I find it soothing to look out at it. One's home is never quite so wonderful and cozy as it is in winter.

To end with a laugh: whenever I use the word cozy, this line in the Gwyneth Paltrow movie version of Emma comes to mind. What a cozy little house in the background! I have no idea why I'm so amused by this. But I am.


  1. what a beautiful post! i totally understand this was almost as if i had written this myself : ) i used up my tokens at the beginning of december. now i am seeking quiet and beautiful things to read as well. i wish you the best this holiday season : )

    1. Thanks, Vicki! Good to know I'm not alone :) Best to you as well.

  2. "It" is normal and seems quite common these days...maybe the soul is desperately trying to get our attention...tell us something...but i can't make out its message...i'm too distracted playing solitaire...merry christmas,seasons greetings,super solstice,etc...xoxoxo

  3. Hello, December is like the treasure of the year for me!

  4. I can so relate...the older I get, the more I crave solitude.

  5. i recently read somewhere this line . . . " i'm an introvert who chatters." i smiled at that.
    we moved often in my childhood due to my father's profession. so i learned early that if you don't talk you make few friends. and you didn't have that much time anyway. chatter at least got you started.
    so i became a chameleon. or a snow rabbit. changing colors for survival.
    now as then . . . i need long quiet times like a plant needs sunlight and water.
    and this post says it all. thank you for the beauty here. always!

  6. thank you. i really needed to read this now, before christmas with all its sparkle and happy people invade my quietness and depression. sometimes, we just need to be alone to start shining again.

  7. Only so many extrovert tokens per month ..... exactly!
    and I've all but used them up for January too.


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