I was just reading Stephanie's blog about being alone in the woods and it brought back memories of my time at Visitation at the IHM motherhouse in Monroe. I stayed in one of the tiny hermitages to get some writing done. And I did -- it was wonderful.
It was also the first time I had ever been alone for that long. I actually lived with my parents until I married the first time. After I divorced, my children were always (thankfully) with me. And then I married the man who is my love, my life partner. So being alone for more than about a day was not something I'd done.
What I discovered was not only that I am pretty decent company; I more profoundly found time to play. I wandered down to the pond and spent a long time really watching the tadpoles, wading in after them. There were no set times for anything -- meals, bed, waking. I painted really bad pictures, I watched the moon rise, I wrote in the middle of the night, I ate dinner in the middle of the day.
Although I haven't done it again recently, I have carried the memory of play with me and I find it now and then in my "real" life.