I wonder whether it is possible to be a hermit these days? And if so, where? Not a religious hermit – I have never quite understood what pleasure or use comes of holing oneself up in a wall like Julian of Norwich and praying all day. And anyway I have no one I want to pray to.
I can see there must be some fun to be had in being one of those himalayan nutcases who go and live in a cave in the mountains. There again it must be a bit of a bore to make the long trip to Sainsbury’s for a pint of milk. Although I suppose they must grow their own. Perhaps they take a few cows and grow-bags with them, but then looking at some of those skinny old sadhu maybe they don’t need food or drink anyway.
In any event, it must be quite difficult to be a hermit in the English home counties. You are never that far from howling police sirens, noisy pubs and blizzards of old folk battling around your local market town on mobility scooters.
Perhaps hermeticism must be looked upon as a metaphor in modern Britain. Unless you want to go to the frozen north and face the Picts and Scots beyond Hadrian’s Wall (yes, I know – all very Game of Thrones up there).
No, I think you have to make a compromise or two as a modern secular hermit. Eschew the social media; lay off the internet. Call in for a Co-op delivery rather than face the mobility scooters in town. Accept that some oaf next door will occasionally start up his chain saw or play the alpenhorn in his back garden.
Silence has to be a state of mind these days. Unless you have noise cancelling Bose headphones at £300 a set and lots of spare batteries.
So it looks like I’ll have to put up with the occasional trip “Down Deal” for my daily bread and it probably does no harm to keep my aging body within hailing distance of the NHS.
So thanks Simeon, I appreciate the invitation but I won’t be becoming a stylite; the desert air is a bit dry and I don’t fancy ending my days standing on a stone column.
Unless the modern hermit is a real Bear Grylls, or likes really bad weather and people with odd accents north of The Wall he will just have to keep as much to himself as possible and put up with being a pretend hermit. And console himself that these days Sainsbury’s delivers anyway.