May 31, 2001

May 31, 2001 01:28 AM

Eating weeds. Drinking rain. And a dose of Introspection. I ‘ve been reading an autobiography called Drinking The Rain (Alix Kates Shulman). The author startles family and friends by choosing a life of solitude on an island off the coast of Maine over her sociable and active life of many years in Manhattan. Her story is not only an acute observation and accounting of poignant aspects of New York City, but in her island isolation ‘thinking long thoughts,’ and the practice of things that take time : making bread, reading books by the light of the fireplace in her island cabin, carefully examining the body of a dead seal that has washed up on the beach, and reflecting on the process of going into herself after a lifetime of adapting to others. Amor fati…. Ms Shulman observes her former anxieties over ‘the state of the world and the weight of years’ as a burden lifted away. Her peace comes by the acceptance of what she finds and who she is in her aloneness. As a former networking activist in the Second Wave of the women’s movement and now ‘a quiet person,’ she realizes that life can hold many seemingly conflictive selves and it is pointless to choose among what she calls the ‘impulses’ that live inside us. The shore’s appearance is constantly changing, she notes. One’s life has room for all that resides in it. She has embraced simplicity and is discovering how little she actually needs to have everything. She answers to no one, follows her interests deeply, and will change rules for herself when she wants. Set free in her solitude. No longer adjusting to the needs of anyone but herself. Eating weeds (‘gifts of sustenance’). Drinking rain.

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