A Hermit in the Woods

Published September 16, 2012 by Sandee

When I was a kid my dad took us to the home of an artist friend of his.  There were three boys.  One had long, sandy-colored hair.  The mother was a white woman with blonde hair and the father was black.  I was seven.  It was 1970.  Beads hung in the doorways and there were Persian rugs for a bohemian feel.  The boys played tarot cards with my brother and me.  My reading said I would be a hermit.  On my card was an old man carrying a staff in a black hooded robe in a cave .

I enjoyed riding my tricycle alone, pretending that the trees and bushes were a forest.  I had private adventures.  The people walking around were monsters or some other imaginary, vague threat.

Sometimes Dad had to make me play with other kids.  I wanted to be reading, writing stories in my room, or playing with dolls.  The kids would yell up to the window, “Sandee, can you come outside?”  The idea of playing with them was exciting and frightening at the same time.  Once I began hanging out as a pre-teen and teenager, there was trauma.  I wasn’t innocent, but there were rules and trends you had to follow and ugly gossip about other people.   At fourteen, I started smoking, which took the edge off.

Though I have a social life, I’m the same as I was as a girl.  Sometimes people are monsters or vague and imaginary threats.  Small talk can make me physically unwell.  Even in planned social events there is a strain.  It’s because of the way I’m made physically.  I’m not socially awkward the way I was as a child.  I just need a lot of space.

While people get the opposite impression of me at work, being around the collected neuroses, insecurities and various social conditions makes me a mad woman.  This was evident when I worked for a carnivorous corporation.  It brought out the worst in people.  I’m not good with politics and trickery.

That’s why I work in a garden.  Its mission is simply to inspire happiness and to encourage a connection between people and nature.  It’s a heavenly place on the river, close to home and I like the people.

I used to have a vision about being a writer in the woods, an old woman wearing black with a big stick, very much like the staff in my tarot reading years ago.  I’d live in a small house and every month I’d be in touch with my agent.  I wouldn’t have to deal with all the assholism occurring in offices.  I think about that tarot reading now and wonder how close I am to that prophesy.

44 comments on “A Hermit in the Woods

  • Assholism. I like it.

    I want to live in a small house by a lake. With lots of evergreens and lots of snow. A nice fireplace in the middle of the house. And internet. Then I’ll write children’s books and I’ll do all the drawings for the books too

  • I can totally relate to this, Sandee. I hate small talk and awkward social situations. Social rules and etiquette give me hives. I’m much happier communing with nature and animals. I’d rather be in the garden talking to my plants. Sandee, you’re a divinely creative and spiritual soul. This reveal just makes me love you more.
    Have an assholism free day!

  • enjoyable read. I love learning more about your life. I was always one who made believe everything, that trees were army soldiers coming at me and all kinds of things. You are right, we are all just different. Some feel content in a group of people. I tend to notice stupid things like an annoying voice, someone who thinks they know everything ect. I feel pressured to say something grand but my mind won’t let me think. Around here, small talk is everywhere. It is to a point that is unbearable lol. These people’s small talk it literally really small lol

  • Auntie Sandee,
    I’ll say it. I’ll dare say it: what a lovely piece. Live with it.
    Let’s be hermits together, although it would defy the purpose of being a hermit.
    Le Clown

    • I won’t tell anyone you used the word ‘lovely’. Thanks Le Clown — I appreciate you saying that — maybe I’ll try writing something else just as lovely, only if I’m not possessed by the evil bunny. I think you can be a hermit with someone — I love the idea of being with people you like and not talking, without being co-dependently latched on everything they do or say. Just smiles, nods, some pointing, a laugh here and there. Ah, yes, I think this would be perfect.

  • Sandee, I love when you share these snippets of yourself. I love the word bohemian and that you remember beads hanging in the doorway. I still like those things. :). I’m like you in many ways — I don’t like those awkward social situations where I have to make small talk with people; I’ve always felt “not right” not me. What a great job — in a garden, close to home! Sounds as if you’ve earned it and deserve it. Assholism — what a great word.

    • I’m wondering — with the identification commenters have with being uncomfortable in social situations — what we’d all be like in a social situation together. I guess we’d probably put on a good act of being social but not 100% loving it. I have on the other hand met people who genuinely love small talk and meeting new people and being with swarms of folks regularly — more power to them.

      Assholism is a great word — unfortunately, ashamedly, I’ve inhabited it a couple of times myself 🙂

    • I’ve had those ‘hermit-like tendencies’ for quite a while. I sort of fit into the cliche perfectly, even with excessive drinking, which I had to stop. I’d have to be vigilant against slipping back into alcohol abuse in the woods with no one watching.

  • I love this post so much. Have I told you lately how much I love you?

    When I was a kid I had a vision that I’d live alone in a tiny apartment in New York City with a typewriter. I would chainsmoke and write all day.

    I have to say, I like your vision much better!

  • When I win the lottery, I’ll buy a big house where we can be hermits together. You’ll have your half, I’ll have mine, and when we feel up to it, we’ll meet in the middle and rant about all the things that make us angry. Or happy. I’m not picky.

    Although it sounds like you already have a pretty lovely life.

  • assholism… you have coined a great new word for everyone. I want to be your nieghbor..won’t you be mine? We can ward off any stupid small talk and stupid social gatherings together..

    • I associate ‘assholism’ with The Howler and Me — I feel like I got it from her, but I don’t know. I have seen it somewhere before. I’m helping to make it popular!

      From the comments on this post, I think I can open up a hermitage that would be pretty well populated 🙂

  • Would that be a Thomas Kinkade cottage with warm golden lights shining through trees and flowers or a Brother’s Grimm cottage where Red Riding keeps pestering you with her neuroses and weirdywolves drop by for cake… just wondering.. and would they become you new and improved assoholics? 🙂

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