Wednesday, September 3, 2008


"That is what is strange - that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life unless there is time alone in which to explore and to discover what is happening or has happened, Without the interruptions, nourishing and maddening, this life would become arid. Yet I taste it fully only when I am alone....". - May Sarton.

I've been working in the courtyard since 7 this morning. There is a soft breeze and the air is loaded with the fragrance of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. It's far too beautiful to go inside to tap out my blog post so I'm sitting right here, sipping coffee, ruminating and jotting down my thoughts in a notebook. I have the dogs at my feet to keep me company and a lone monkey sunning herself on the roof.

M left for the Transkei in the early hours. He helps a friend with his fishing safari business and they are taking clients to the Wild Coast for a week long South African adventure. The one client, out from Germany, loved the last trip so much that he booked 2 years in advance. He can't understand a word of English (besides fish) and my husband can't understand a word of German (besides strudel) ...and yet they get on like a house on fire.

Happy client snoozing after a long morning of fishing.

At the moment my home is quiet and I am enjoying the silence and the solitude. The other day I was labelled a loner simply because I like to be quiet and contemplative when I create my art. It's a sacred time for me. Not only is it therapeutic but it's also my means of making a living.There's a quote I relate to very well by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

"What a commentary on civilization, when being alone is being suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it - like a secret vice."

As I work on "Nature's Child" I recognize in her, so many bloggers that I chat to. Those who love to collect nature's detritus whilst wandering . Gentle folk who share an affinity with the creatures around us. I'm connecting with my art more now then ever, perhaps because I am allowing myself to flow into the art.

BTW, Don Madden has given me a very generous mention on his blog. He and his wife Susan share their love for arting and crafting and what I love about the two of them is that they go off on art retreats together, usually different courses but common venues and then converge later to share their experiences. How wonderful is that?


  1. thank you for this beautifully written post and the insightful quotations.

  2. I understand the need for solitude very much. I suppose as an only child I grew used to it, and perhaps that's also why I'm perhaps hesitant about the whole relationship thing.

    I enjoy every post you write!

  3. Your posts are always inspiring, Robyn.

    I still can't get used to the idea of cows on the beach. You just don't see it up here! :)

  4. I have been so busy the last few days to be able to blog much at all... Look at all the special entries you have made since I have been gone.. I will enjoy everyone of them while catching up... Tough to balance sometimes...

    You are right about having quiet time to think and contemplate.. it is so important.
    This is a wonderful post..

    and again I love the cows relaxing on the beach and the monkey on the roof!!! You always make me feel calm. thank you Robyn!!

  5. i find that the more time i spend alone the more i crave to have time alone. i rarely get it so i completely relate to your calling it the sacred time, when you can really put yourself into your work. i look forward to seeing what you are working on. and, a monkey! fabulous!

  6. I love the way you put things..."get on like a house on fire" love that! What fun it would be to spend an afternoon talking with you...wonder if we could even understand one with my Texas twang and! As for solitude...I have to fight the guilt monster daily I need it so much. But I need people everything, it's a balancing act.

  7. i especially love the first two quotes, robyn... and i loved your answer to the 'how do you get in the groove' question at seth's - i agree wholeheartedly.

    thank you for another beautiful post...

  8. Priya, thank you. I love to share some of the quotations that I have collected over many years.

    Thanks so much Heather, the trick is to find someone who feels the same way that you do.

    Willow, it is rather nice to see cows on the beach...and donkeys...and goats. It doesn't happen everywhere though. Just at the Wild Coast.

    Gwen, that is a lovely thing to say. Hope you've caught up for some breathing space.

    Kelly, and yet too much time to oneself can be almost painful. Its all about balance.

    Amy,I'm sure we could understand each other..LOL. A typical South African accent sounds like a pinch of Australian, a pinch of Dutch mixed with a spoon of British....or maybe it's just a sound of it's own.

    Lynne, I love the feeling I get when finding quotes that resonate.

  9. Robyn - I have read this post three times - I came back and read your owl post at least 5 times - you have this way of conveying your whole self through your words - it's really wonderful - I completely understand the need for solitude - it's a precious commodity - this next month will go by so fast for me and then I transition back into theatre which is completely opposite - it's collaboration on a huge scale - I had a design meeting today at a theatre for someone's set design - I was reminded of how much I need this time to work on my art - loved the pic of the cows on the beach - I can't imagine - lucky cows

  10. what a beautiful post robyn,i am one of those who loves 'my own time'too,helps me put things back in order.
    amazing quotes.simply a beautiful post thats all.:)

  11. Jeane, and you have a way of making me feel very good about myself. Thank you. The month ahead sounds very exciting! At the end of it all you will certainly need some art time to unwind.

    Megha, thank you. Meaningful quotations can be very calming. A sense of , ah someone feels the same way as I do.

  12. Wonderful quotes, all of them. I absolutely treasure and guard my solitude, and if I don't get some good quality time with ME, I am not good company for anyone else!! I cannot wait to see how you breathe life into "Nature's Child."

  13. What a lovely post...honouring solitude. I loved your quotes, as always. The one about solitude being suspect resonated with me. No secret vice for me...I will shout it out to the world. I love my solitude! Monkeys on the roof! How delightful (although I am aware that they probably are quite pesky).

  14. Lovely post. I do so wish I had a monkey on my roof.

  15. I like the first quote, it reminds me on Lord Byron's "In solitude, where we are least alone."

  16. Enjoy the solitude while it lasts. It's such an important part of allowing the ideas to flow.

  17. Robyn, you seem to have this gift of giving, through your beautiful and inspiring posts.
    The timing of this post is amazing! I declared to myself just last night that I need to create some quiet time, or at least recognize it when I have it! The forest is beckoning and so is my studio!
    Love the quotes...and the image of that monkey enjoying the sun:)
    Robyn have a wonderful week with "Natures Child"...

  18. BTW thank you for Don's looks fantastic!

  19. Tee-hee. How wonderful? Well, the myth is greater than the reality! But thanks for the thoughts and mention.

    When two people share an interest in art there ARE bad things that happen: Two people juggle one studio space, even though someone I won't name is supposed to restrict himself to the garage; Two people lost in their work and no one stops to make dinner; and the worst problem of all, Two people buying way too many art books and supplies and no one is saying No.

    Ah, solitude. Nothing better than a quiet house, and a lazy day nap. And then waking yourself up with your own snoring.


  20. Kerri, "breathing life into Nature's Child" is a wonderful way of puting it.

    Kate, the monkey's are pesky sometimes (especially when they'r hefting the butternuts out the door as I'm about to make butternut soup) but I still think it's such a privelege to have them here.

    Pamela, even one monkey on the roof can be very entertaining. They are the most comical creatures.

    Thinker, another quote that resonates with me.

    Thanks Hens Teeth

    Chris, I am wallowing in ideas!

    Jo, thank you! I hope you carve out a chunk of time for yourself...soon.

    Susan, who needs dinner when you're inspired? "Two people buying way too many artbooks and supplies and no one is saying No"....I love it!

  21. I love this latest post, from the cow on the beach, your writing especially, and the quote by Anne Morrow Lindberg. Have your read A Gift From the Sea?? Thank you for sharing your world! Roxanne

  22. It is late, I am tired. I wanted to stop over and thank you for visiting my blog, and for your comment, which made my day. I can tell I will love your blog.
    I will be back.

  23. What a magical blog you write...I love the lone monkey sitting on the roof!

  24. Thanks Roxanne, I've been meaning to read A Gift from the Sea for such a long time. I think I had better do something about it!

    Hi Karine, hope you slept well!

    Thanks so much Shelley.

  25. That was a very thought provoking and atmospheric post. I enjoyed it. Thank you.

  26. All those quotes resonate here. And it's not about being 'lonely' is it? Just alone, bliss.

    I read another perspective on solitude that sums it up for me( can't remember the author).....
    'Solitude is lovely so long as you can share it with someone afterwards!"

  27. Silence and solitude - so precious! Thank you for the comment about the beads Robyn....I meant to write you earlier about how much I love your carvings.
    The angel and the collector are magnificent...

  28. You have cows on the beach their time for silence ans solitude I guess, a bit like India where you have cows sitting in traffic islands, little islands of peace and contentment amidst all the chaos.So much to learn from those around us. Wonderful post Robyn.

  29. Glad you enjoyed it Jackie.

    HHMN, that quote is so true. Restores the balance.

    Thanks Joanna.

    Embellisher, I have seen videos and photographs of cows sitting and chewing the cud in streets in India. Now that you mention it I can also see them as little islands of peace amidst the chaos. A little AHA! moment there. We certainly do learn so much from each other as we begin to see things through different eyes. Wonderful!

  30. robyn, after all the many times you've visited ornamental and left the many lovely comments, i am FINALLY able to come visit yours, with my new faster connection (was on dial up for years!). i'm tickled to be able to share emotions now, and artwork as well - you are one talented gal!
    and as for the post on silence and solitude, you know very well that i can completely relate. xoxoxo

  31. i'm right there with on the love of quiet and solitude. i'm just not happy without a daily dose of it in my life. can't wait to see your latest creation!

  32. I have to have silence and solitude to recharge my internal people batteries. If I go without it too long, I am good for nobody. I usually spend my lunch hour alone in my car, parked facing the woods, alone and quiet. After my hour, I am able to go back inside and be with all those loud loud people for the remainder of the day.

    Enjoy your time with the dogs and the monkey.

  33. this sounds so precious. how wonderful that you can savour this time and share it with us. (thanks for the comment on my blog too)


  34. my cows are wanting to know why they can't go to the beach too! they tell me that looking into the half-full dam is NOT the same...meanwhile i enjoy their quiet company...

  35. thank you also for your comments on my blog. sometimes during moments of uncertainty, it feels good to be appreciated.

  36. Nina, it's so wonderful to see you here.

    Julie, My creative juices are flowing and I'm carving up a storm....but I'm beginning to miss hubby at this stage. A week is such a long time.

    Stevie, I remember my days working full time in an office. It is so necessary to get out for that lunch break.

    Kate, today I took a break from the solitude and my daughter and I went out for some serious retail therapy.

    Tumbleweed, I feel bad for your cows and hope that dam fills up soon.

    Priya, it's also great to know that your words are not falling on deaf ears. I'm still amazed that I am communicating with people all over the world with so little effort.

  37. Silence is golden, but its glitter tends to attract noise.

  38. I havn't heard that one Anil. I wonder where it comes from.

  39. I enjoyed my recent discovery of your blog (through The Pulse at The Altered Page) so much that I want to share it with everybody - to that end I am passing along the Arte-y-Pico award; you can read more about it on my site (Sept. 6 post) and pass it along it you choose -



  40. Hi Robyn - I'm back to look at the cows on the beach - I showed my husband the pic last night - he was as amazed as I am - and I have tagged you over at my blog - only if you wish!

  41. Terry, thanks for the kind words and for the Art-y-pico-award.

  42. To be alone is not to be lonely. Some people seem to be afraid of their own company and need others to distract them from it in case they learn too much about themselves.
    Us "loners" must stick together (if that is not a contradiction in terms).

  43. What a perfect time to return to your posts!

    I love May Sarton's journal and have reread them several times. So funny to find her here with you. Don't you think that The House by the Sea is much like a blog? I often think about taking a trip north to see the actual spot.

    More than that I would love to visit a place where donkeys and cows sunbath at the beach and monkeys throw nuts out the door. We have cows, monkeys and asses here, but they are of the human kind, and lack the other's charm.

    Solitude is a commodity that is hard to find in NY but I make a point to make it a priority. I am glad you do too. Your work is lovely. I look forward to seeing what else I missed, but wanted to drop this note first.