I read nature essays and find lonely landscapes described as empty, vast wastelands. The writer is alone.
Most mornings I go out walking across empty fields. I am alone. I would never describe the fields as empty or lonely. They teem with life.
What about a desert? Even the driest desert has occupants.
My fields are crowded with grass and various wildflowers commonly called weeds. The sweet everlasting plants are widely spaced, yet are not lonely. Insects visit. The breeze slips through the branches. An occasional turtle or armadillo wanders by.
Even the hills reaching up from the pastures aren’t lonely. Standing underneath I listen to the wind whispering through the leaves. A few asters still bloom attracting insects. Spiders skitter across fallen leaves. Acorns drop bashing through the leaves and thunking onto the ground. Squirrels crash through the leaves.
Those lonely landscapes are only lonely for the person standing there alone.
Most people are surrounded by other people now. When they aren’t, they are jabbering on their phones with others. Being out of communication with others is traumatic for many now.
When people do go out into those lonely landscapes, they seem to take their security devices with them. Music blares drowning out the wind, birds and insects. Sending selfies to friends and asking for their approval and opinions keeps them from looking and thinking about where they are.
Those empty of people fields filled with natural sounds are not lonely for me. I enjoy being away from the hustle and bustle of the house and barn. I am comfortable with my own thoughts. My walks are over too soon.
Those lonely landscapes are only lonely for people who find being alone disturbing. It is their own sense of loneliness being projected onto the landscape. That is a shame. Being alone with your thoughts is how you find out who you are because you have no one but you to explore it.
Haiku is one way to describe landscapes. Find them in “My Ozark Home.”