Solitude and Community



Coffee mug in one hand, baby girl sleeping harnessed against my chest, I direct the bright green garden hose with my other hand. The dirt smells right, nine raised beds of loam and compost and mulch, warming in the early sun and dampening at the base of each emerald vegetable start. I’ve been leaving the earbuds inside more often lately. Audiobooks and podcasts and music are great, but life is easily filled with wall-to-wall content. Peace is the point of my morning hand-watering routine, the reason I haven’t installed drip lines.


It’s time to get out, for a few reasons. She just had a birthday during a particularly busy season. Administrative Professionals Day is this time of year. She makes things happen and makes things fun around the office. A leisurely meal at Madeleine’s with the whole team is quite in order. Grilled cheese gourmet-style, flavorful sides, and a proper iced coffee drink. It’s all outstanding, but there’s something about the space—high ceilings, natural light, distinctive periwinkle—it facilitates levity and conversation that has nothing to do with work.


Life works best for me when my days swing like a pendulum from solitude into community and then out again. Maybe it’s because I’ve never felt at home in either the introvert or extrovert category, or it’s just true about humans. On one spring day in Spokane, both silence and friendship add texture and depth.

-Ross Carper