Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursday Thoughts...

“A wanderer is a hermit in motion; a hermit is a wanderer at rest.”

Tales of Azad

Sometimes somebody tells your truth, and you didn't even know it was your truth until you heard it, or in this case read it.  That's how it was for me with this quote.  With one of those blinding flashes of understanding I understood the sometimes contradictory nature of my life. I am a hermit. I am a wanderer.

In the simplicity of this quote I found my reality reflected, and understood how I am.  I am a hermit - I come home to the mountain and sit happily at home pottering, going not many places, seeing not many people. I crave the quiet and the solitude that the mountain gives me. I find my centre here. 

But often when I am home, I dream of visiting other places, of seeing new and wonderful things and travelling the world, and our country. I am a wanderer. I love a road trip - just getting in the car and driving. The conversations we have as the hundreds or thousands of kilometres fly past; the new ways in which see the world, experience it. All of these give me a sort of wanderlust.

But even when I travel, I remain hermit-like. Large gatherings are not for me. Days filled with activities followed by nights with shows and parties are beyond me.  I travel for new experiences; yet carry a sense of solitude with me. I will always need a quiet place to come home to at night. To reflect and ponder. To re-charge my batteries so that I can truly enjoy and appreciate the wonder that is there for the wanderer to experience.

©2012 Fiona Dempster Ai Wei Wei sunflower seeds
This image captures the dichotomy for me.  I travelled the world to see this piece - sunflower seeds by Chinese artist Ai Wei Wei in New York; and found in it the truth and beauty of solitude. To be in that room, with just the ceramic sunflower seeds and me. And Barry. A pair of wandering hermits.

The quote defies attribution. The whole of tumblr seem to be sharing it; but I cannot pin down where it comes from. Whoever you are - thank you.


  1. Yes, Fiona, it resonates with me, too. Long mother called me a lone wolf. And a dear friend said I had a dual personality.
    At the time, I didn't understand either. Oh, I could read the words and knew their dictionary definitions, but it was half a century before I understood.
    Perhaps I'm a wermit?

    (I love Ai Weiwei! )

  2. Yes. This quote and your thoughts on it resonate with me so completely. Thank you for such a great start to my day.

  3. Completely resonates with me too Fiona. I'm so happy being a hermit....crowds, forget it. Being with too many people is really a drain on my energy and I've always attributed it to being an introvert, but I definitely have the hermit in me. I'm really quite amazed to watch people who are the opposite...who gather their energy from talking and from lots of interaction with many people. Love the image of the Ai Wei work too.....mesmerizing. Thank you for the confirmation of my hermit/wanderer reality!

  4. Deeply true. Maybe artists share the hermit thing as we need to spend many hours alone to make our work. I crave human connection sometimes tucked away in my forest here, but just enough. Too much and I'm out of whack. In my younger days I traveled to live and work on a mountain in Greece. Wandering there for six months satisfied my need to go far away. Now, it seems I wander in the images I make as I am deeply rooted here...

  5. Fiona, this is lovely and . . . you have spoken my 'truth' as well. I am a home-body, not a fan of large crowds. I delight in solitude, nature and art of course. Thank you for this beautiful post.

  6. Thank you, Fiona! I am relating at the very core of me!

  7. Love this quote. Makes me think of me and the "wild desk" I'm always seeking out. Must try and read more from this writer if I can discover where the quote comes from.

  8. Another thoughtful post that makes me consider my own 'truth'. Thanks Fiona.

  9. This quote, and your thoughts on it, have great meaning for me. Because of circumstances at the moment I am a wanderer but how I long to stay home to be a hermit. Not necessarily to be alone but to have time to settle, nestle, into my beloved surroundings. Reading your words, and Barry's, always restores my peace.
    Fiona, I hope you had a wonderful birthday and have a successful and very peacefully happy year ahead.

  10. this is a beautiful sentiment...
    and i am so glad you got to see the installation in a way that was meaningful to you...

  11. i am beginning to feel like quite the bum! you are on fire... i love this idea for the leaves... each one more interesting than the next... do you feel like this is the most comprehensive group of projects you have done?

  12. A belated Happy Birthday, Fiona!

    Yes, so often when reading a quote or a poem, the truth hits you between the eyes. Something you knew all along but had never put into words.

  13. I don't know where I missed the part about the birthday Fiona! Belated best wishes as another year turns for you. May it be another filled with quotes like this one, so sensitively taken apart,explored and pieced together again in your own thoughtful way.

  14. Happy belated birthday! I hope your day was filled with lloyd, laughter, good food, good friends and art.

  15. ~brightest of bright birthday wishes and blessings be with you this year...may it be filled with more moments of wandering the world and savoring solitude in the glorious of ways...

    this is just breathtaking...

    much the same...i prefer silence...we run to the mountains not to be with all the other wild people but to be alone...i find my littles following the same...we can spend hours together where there is no speaking yet we feel so close so full of eachothers presence...each just being with nature...for us though the time is are lucky to be surround always by such beauty...

    be well and much love light and blessings shining brightly upon you and yours~

  16. Hi Dinah - yes! A wermit! It's interesting how it can take us a long time to discover some of the big things...I also like that good friends and good family can often help us turn around and see ourselves that way.

    Hi Jennifer - glad it gave you a good start. I think there are more hermits out there than we know; a lot of kindred hermitic spirits I think.

    Ah Patti-it's good to know we're not alone isn't it? Hermits of the world unite!

    Thank you Valerianna - I do think artists also get the chance to wander through their inner lives and their expression as you say. We certainly travel different paths. The need for solitude and quiet for creativity is a strong one I think. Enjoy your woods...

    Hi Jane - it's good to stop and realise our truths sometimes; not just take them for granted. I am amazed at the strength of this one for me and how strongly it resonates and helps me make sense.

    Thanks Helen - wonderful! It's amazing how one phrase or insight can suddenly just make so much sense of it all! Go well.

    I like your idea of a wild-desk Annie; the perfect place. Good luck with the search for the author - my attempts have been somewhat circular!

    Thanks Jo - as you now I like to ponder; and this one really grabbed me. I think we all probably have many truths...

    Thank you so much Carol - it's lovely to have your wishes! You are truly a hermit-wanderer at the moment and it can be tiring and make you ache for the hermit place and time. I hope you get there soon...

    Hi MJ - yes Ai Wei Wei was special - and the thought really helped me understand something that didn't otherwise make much sense to me- being away, begin home, being away again. And thanks for the birthday wishes too! I sent for other wishes to B...

    Thanks Robyn - that's how this one was for me. Straight between the eyes, and suddenly it all makes sense, yet you couldn't have explained it before...thanks too, I had a lovely birthday!

  17. Thank you Lesley - the mention of the birthday was over on Barry's blog so don't feel bad; I kept it all quiet over here! That's a truly lovely way to put it - taken apart, explored and pieced back together again. Precious.

    Thanks Jennifer - it was ! Filled with family, friends and food, so all is well (and some successful art resolutions - yay!). Thanks for the wishes.

    Thanks Brandi - I'm glad you have mountains you can run away to; they are special places. The solitude thing is an interesting one to observe in the children too - it well serve them well I am sure. Thank you for your birthday wishes - a shiny, happy year would be wonderful.

  18. I love that quote, and the post it inspired both! Isn't it nice we can now own our duality and give our nature names that reflect something positive? Being a wanderer or traveler, for instance, sounds a lot nicer than being considered the kind of person who will always be rootless, restless and perpetually distracted. Hermit by choice, as an antidote to being out in the world, also sits more comfortably on me than having a reputation for being anti-social, self-absorbed or maladjusted (which "introvert" still implies in some ways). Nothing wrong with having many sides - even seemingly contrasting ones!

  19. I've come back to read this post again after following your link from your latest post. Though I have already commented I forgot to mention that I so relate to your quote and your words. Thanks you!

  20. Thanks G/TT (belatedly) for this comment - the two ways of being are described so positively, when so often we turn them into the negative as you say. Contrasting natures, living dualities, it all makes life so interesting!

    Hi again Robyn - thanks for back-tracking! I'm glad it resonated - it certainly uncovered a truth for me that has stayed and become integrated into my way of thinking about my life...


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