From Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, Rome, December 23, 1903, as translated by Johanna Macy in Anita Barrows in A Year with Rilke.
I often return to this passage, especially during this time of year when in the midst of all the celebrating there are these moments of pure aloneness. This passage often helps me through it.
Could there be a solitude that had no value to it? There is only one solitude; it is vast and hard to bear How often do we gladly exchange it for any kind of sociability, however trivial and cheap, or trade it for the appearance of agreement, however small, with the first person who comes along. But those may be the very moments when your solitude can grow; its growing is painful as the growing of girls and boys and sad as the beginning of spring. But don’t be confused. ALl that is needed is the capacity to be alone with yourself, to go into yourself and meet no one for hours–that is what you need to achieve. To be alone, the way you were as a child, when the grown-ups walked around so busy and distracted by matters that seemed important because they were beyond your comprehension.
Thank you for the thoughts and wonderful image today.