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Finding Serenity

Most people equate solitude with loneliness. No one wants to be lonely so the thought of being alone can be frightening, but moments to oneself can often have a very therapeutic value. Solitude can mean freedom.

The summer before I turned fifteen, I found solitary freedom for the first time. I had gone to Iowa where I stayed with my aunt and uncle so I could work with their daughters on a bean-walking crew. I was up at four a.m. every morning and worked until noon or later. It was back-breaking work for a soft city girl.

I found peace in the evenings on the twenty-foot sand hill near the gravel pit. When perched at the top, I had a perfect view of the pit with its tall overgrowth and wildflowers, and of the farm beyond it.

I would sit alone, with my sketch pad nearby. Sometimes I would draw or write about what I saw or thought. Other times, I would sit and sing made-up songs. I was a girl coming into womanhood with all the anxieties and questions that come with that time of life. I found serenity on "my hill".

The sun would begin to set and a soft glow would settle on the pit as the moon and sun shared the same sky. The crickets would serenade me as I strolled back to the farm.

The following summer, I returned to Iowa, anxious to reunite with my peaceful hill, but it had been levelled. I tried to recapture the serenity, but my sanctuary had transformed into just an ordinary pond. Still, I came away with memories and an experience that taught me the freedom of solitude.

This was an evaluation piece that I wrote for a Fiction Writing course I took in 1994.

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