What, I sometimes wonder, would it be like if I lived in a country where winter is a matter of a few chilly days and a few weeks' rain; where the sun is never far away, and the flowers bloom all year long?
No matter how much we love our family and friends, a part of us needs the occasional moment of solitude as a plant needs water. It is the inmost core of each of us that, that part which nobody can define but which we all recognize because it never changes.
Solitude is pleasant. Loneliness is not.
I have always found it difficult to wait for things - whether it was to see my father or sailor brother, Alan, again after their long sea trips, or the chance of a better job, or even new curtains.
But if we learn to think of it as anticipation, as learning, as growing, if we think of the time we spend waiting for the big things of life as an opportunity instead of a passing of time, what wonderful horizons open out!