Growing up in the bucolic environs of Ridgefield, CT allowed a young lad a chance to innocently explore areas in a singular fashion. Back then, Ridgefield was nothing more than a sleepy town, not yet an enclave for the upper class hailing from bordering states. Back then one need not worry about shoving your kids outdoors for the day, the entire day, and said kids never had qualms about venturing into the wilds of their neighborhoods.
I distinctly remember one sultry summer day, when haze enveloped everything and the air barely scraped along, content to wallow in its humid, torpid state. I was sitting, by myself, above a rock garden my Mum had planted, thinking about nothing in particular when I heard the approaching whine of a single engine plane. To me, even back then, that was one of the loneliest sounds in the world. I don’t know why it hit me so. But even at that age, no more than eight, did it affect me in such a desolate way. The plane slowly bee-lined its way across the stagnant sky, its engine a constant hum and, as I eyed its progress did a well of melancholy envelop me. To this day, that is but one lonely sound that hits a chord with me every time.
Another, and this is from my youth as well, is the clanging of a single cleat upon a flagpole, its sporadic echo against metal sending frissons of despair along my nape, the inconsistency of its resonance rather discomforting in nature, a lone chunk of metal wailing against a pole. Just writing those words gives me horripilations of utter loneliness.
Yet one more example possibly rings true for others. Again, this memory is captured from when I was but a wee lad, but its haunting toll lingers still. Growing up we had the wonderful opportunity to vacation on a spit of land in Maine, a place called Bailey Island. At first the lot of us would rent this tiny cottage and, seeing it years later, I marveled at how we all squeezed into such a box of a house. As we grew older, we rented another house upon a hill, with sweeping views of the ocean on two sides. On some mornings, with a cup of tea in hand I’d walk out onto the wrap-around deck, slamming the screen door behind me. Through the morning fog, I’d hear the eerie siren call of a lone buoy, hidden, unseen, and it would beckon through the impenetrable mist, again causing shivers of utter despair and desolation. What creatures lurked by in the thick of fog? What ancient oceanids summoned one’s soul to this haunting peal upon the splash of sea?
Just a few memories of my youth, moments of a soul in solitude laced with a sense of loneliness. Perhaps you, too, have experienced such melancholic memories and if so, I’d like to hear them.