Mekong, Lao, 2007

A Man, a Boat and the Setting Sun

Most of us seek solitude at some point in our lives.  Whether it is for a few moments of quiet contemplation


Lac Lemon, Switzerland 1976

or to spend some hours or days in a place remote from society, solitude provides respite from the stress of daily life.


Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai, India, 1994

Some places, by virtue of their sanctity


S was found, deep in thought, at the foot of the stairs.
Kitulgala Temple, Sri Lanka, 1997

or isolation, or the beauty of their location, draw out our need for solitude.


The crucifix atop a mountain ridge is a magnet for hikers to Pilatus.
Switzerland, 2011

While the history of others sings to us of continuity.


Was she playing Monteverdi, Palestrina, or William Byrd? It was the 70s – more likely Pachelbel.
Epidavros, Greece, 1976

For some, solitude is the unintended result of their work,


Mekong, Lao, 2007

while for others it is the enforced solitude of a social pariah.


Or is the cigarette an excuse to seek solitude?
Burano, Italy, 2011

Some people seek to live alone and remote from society, painting, or writing, perhaps, or as a path toward inner peace.  For some, solitariness is a choice;  for others it may be the result of unintended circumstance.


Abandoned by her husband, and her children, this woman had found refuge on the mountain.
Meemure, Sri Lanka, 2008

A state of solitariness may also pertain to lonely, unfrequented or uninhabited places


In reply to our queries as to the significance of the tiny Dagaba, the woman replied – “to look at [to make you think]”.
Off the Kurunegala-Anuradhapura Road, Sri Lanka 2012

 or even, I believe, to the remnants of lost civilisations.


I understand they have been woken, now, from their aeons of solitude, and no longer loom up like giant ghosts through the sugar cane, as one rides one’s donkey up from the Nile to the Valley of the Kings.
One of the Colossi of Memnon, Luxor (Valley of the Kings), Egypt, 1983

In response to this weeks Photo Challenge – Solitary.

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62 thoughts on “A Man, a Boat and the Setting Sun

  1. Fantastic postt!
    The long walk home is so poignant. And the pariah is evocative as well. The Mekong shot is always a favourite, but the inclusion of the Dagoba and the Collosus was inspired. Well done TWLG :-)

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    • Thanks for dropping by, Richert. I’m glad you enjoyed my interpretations of solitude. I agree, when chosen, solitatiness seems to be a beautiful thing, but I think, for those who don’t choose it, that loneliness may often accompany them.

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  7. I enjoyed this. A beautiful blend of words and images. I remember my first sight of the colossi. I immediately thought of Shelly’s sonnet, Ozymandias:
    ‘I met a traveler from an antique land
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.’

    • I must admit Ozymandias didn’t come to mind when I saw it – I almost fell of my donkey, is what happened. It was extraordinary – we were following a narrow path through the sugarcane – tall and rustling close to our elbows on both sides, when we veered slightly to the left, and there it was, rearing up out of the cane … Thank you JM – your comments always mean so much to me :)

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  10. Beautifully expressed in both words but especially in pictures. I was looking at one ohoto , thinking that is so familiar, so I was so pleased to see you’d written th elocation ” Epidavros, Greece,” it’s been a while but it was there in the recesses of my teenage brain….

  11. This was fantastic to read. You told a great story of solitude, and I was asking myself with each photo: why is this person alone? For me, it’s not always a bad thing, particularly when wandering through another country; it’s good to be alone without all those commentaries and moody fellow travellers.

    • Couldn’t agree more about travelling alone – unless you’re right in sync there seem to be constant compromises! So glad you enjoyed my exploration of the theme, Trish.

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