From Ursula K. Le Guin: “Sometimes I notice that a teenager in the family group is present in body—smiling, polite, apparently attentive—but absent. I think, I hope she has found an interstice, made herself some spare time, wriggled into it, and is alone there, deep down there, thinking, feeling.”
I often find myself quietly retreating amongst others. That’s when I begin to make sense of things. For me, it’s the moment that I close off the valve and rest with what I have; rearranging, connecting, questioning: what’s going on here? What does it mean?
Not everyone has this tendency; in fact, I don’t think we make room for it much anymore. We need others to engage, be present, remain interested, remain polite.
I’m with Le Guin on this one. I think there’s tremendous value in sitting back and thinking. I’m always curious when I see someone like that—present but absent. Where did they go? They could be anywhere. That’s fascinating.
Photo by elrover
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