Saturday, July 08, 2006

Got Your Fortress Of Solitude?

As is most famously known, the man of steel, Superman, has his fortress of solitude way up in the icy North Pole, where he could literally fly off to get away from it all and get re-acquainted with solitude. Do you remember that huge key housed on top of a mountain that he uses to open his fortress? fortress-solitude
And other comic heroes are also gifted with one, or two. Wealthy Bruce Wayne aka Batman has his dark and eerie bat cave. Even the very visible and hard to hide The BlackHawks have their island getaway where they can scamper to and lose themselves, and those huge airplanes they fly, when they are not battling those nefarious Nazis. And others have less, like only their alter egos to shield themselves from the prying eyes of the world. Thus, we have Spiderman aka Peter Parker, Cap’n America, the Green Lantern, etc. And oh, those underwater heroes, like Aquaman and Submariner, Prince Namor, they have their watery getaways, too.

Now, in the real world of the rich and famous, we admiringly hear about their island paradise, getaways and hideaways, isolated coves, summer and winter homes, etc. No scarcity of choices there. Think your own and make it happen.

But in the everyday world of the average Tom, Dick, and Harry, where many of us proudly belong, we do make do with what we can find and call our own little fortresses of solitude – our little oasis, cozy nook, or secluded cell, where we can shut out the world and get away from it all.

Just finished building mine, just the other day. And I have a stubbed thumb, aching muscles, and burnt skin from the hot summer sun of Tracy, and some uninspiring pictures, to offer as evidence.
But it is all mine and built entirely with my own puny hands, from cast-off, left-over, and remnant lumber some dating back 15 years ago or as recent as the other day from a Home Depot purchase.

Yes, my own little cozy nook in the coolest spot of the entire house and yards, very much noticed and appreciated during these hot summer days and nights. Tucked in a smallish, odd-shaped left-over but secluded part of the front yard. But allows for visual contact of the front street beyond which is the nicely-maintained park where I jog regularly. But I grant taller hedges could correct any problem of ample secrecy.ParkView
Thus, a few steps away from the front door and one, or at least I, is transported within the walls of silence and solitude. Or maybe just a bit of solitude and not enough silence.

But I love it.


  1. Interesting. I watch Filipinos here in the "homeland" and I have yet to see any who seek solitude, most seem to spurn it. I've observed several times in this blog that Filipinos are THE most social of all people.

    The other day one of my instructors had us change to another classroom. My dozen classmates instinctively sat together almost on top of each other in one corner. My instinct was to gravitate to the most open area of the room, away from the "herd." The teacher had to order everyone to "unhook" and spread out.

    People here are just comfortable with each other. Even you have your "fortress" in the front yard, still in a place where you can be connected to the doings of the world.

    I've asked people here about their tendencies to "flock." Nobody here even understands what I'm talking about. In a Guidance Counseling class I mentioned that i've always been a "lone wolf," and she gave me a polite smile and a quizzical look like, "What are you talking about?" Maybe you could provide insights into this national trait. Am I offbase here, or is there something to this?

  2. Phil,

    You are quite observant because I never noticed it until now.

    And thinking about it, you do have a point.

    Filipinos appear to be happiest and "at home" in a group. That's what one survey reported anyway, attempting to measure the happiness index in people. It said Filipinos, though in dire need, find comfort and solace with their own "barkadas". And it could even be simply one's drinking buddies in the sari-sari store.

    But you are right, I do need that solitude regularly. I yearn for it. For example, the entire family drove to Las Vegas last night, and I am running solo right now. And I feel completely at ease.

    Maybe it takes one to know one.

    Welcome, kindred spirit!

  3. WE are solo lobos, and proud of it!

    I think you might be Americanized to the point that your original Filipino tendencies have been subverted.


  4. Anonymous8:02 PM

    learned from your post in manolo's that you were born near the huluga site. by deductive reasoning, am i right that your ignatian perspective is influenced by your schooling at xu?

    --from kagayanong daku

  5. Hi, Anon:

    Welcome, from a fellow Cagayanon.

    Yes, since I was born and raised in CDO, went to XU starting third grade thru college; thus greatly influenced by the Jesuits in thought and attitudes.

    My father's family used to own tracts of land in Taguanao, explaining why I was born in that area.

    When last I visited, I have seen the world of difference in the landscape with the new bridge and its roadway knifing through that old rustic place where we used to go horseback riding.


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