Cowboy On The Lone Trail.
“I want to be alone!” ~ Greta Garbo
Yes, she did actually say those immortal words. Many times in fact, including in the films; The Single Standard, Love, Susan Lenox (Her Rise and Fall) and Inspiration. I suspect that this repetition, coupled with her lonesome (although undoubted beauty) caused her to be forever saddled with the epitaph. Alone does not always mean “Doing a Greta Garbo.” It can mean freedom, time for self-indulgence and whim. That spirit of the outback walkabout; a concept with very limited concerns or planning requirements. Where and when will it start and finish? It’s general direction? The essentials to survival of food, shelter and body warmth. Done:- You are ready To Be Alone!
A Polar Bear as he walks the ice flows: He strolls with direction, knows when he started, his direction and when to finish. Providing his belly is satisfied he is warm. The bear’s expression often has concentration, thought, meditation and even contentment. You sense that he knows what’s what and is at ease with his world. There is a tangible sense of wisdom. Is he Doing a Greta? I think he is probably just walkabout!
Shelter, food and warmth are satisfied. There is time to… What?
Nothing… Take in the detail and wait.
There is reward in nothing. The bugler sun calls Last Post from the western horizon and the day time troops return to camp. You are left with your own thoughts and questions for night time companionship. It is not cold and the night has promise of a Gibbous Moon as Greta Garbo Sentry at the heaven’s gate.
Our bugler is returning and Reveille calls from the orient to break the reverie. Questions may still lack the tidiness of having answers but they are no longer stranded strangers. Greta and I have them sorted just fine!
“Is there anybody there?” said the Traveller,
Knocking on the moonlit door;
And his horse in the silence champed the grass
Of the forest’s ferny floor;
And a bird flew up out of the turret,
Above the Traveller’s head:
And he smote upon the door again a second time;
“Is there anybody there?” he said.
But no one descended to the Traveller;
No head from the leaf-fringed sill
Leaned over and looked into his grey eyes,
Where he stood perplexed and still.
But only a host of phantom listeners
That dwelt in the lone house then
Stood listening in the quiet of the moonlight
To that voice from the world of men:
Stood thronging the faint moonbeams on the dark stair,
That goes down to the empty hall,
Hearkening in an air stirred and shaken
By the lonely Traveller’s call.
And he felt in his heart their strangeness,
Their stillness answering his cry,
While his horse moved, cropping the dark turf,
‘Neath the starred and leafy sky;
For he suddenly smote on the door, even
Louder, and lifted his head:–
“Tell them I came, and no one answered,
That I kept my word,” he said.
Never the least stir made the listeners,
Though every word he spake
Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
From the one man left awake:
Ay, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
And the sound of iron on stone,
And how the silence surged softly backward,
When the plunging hoofs were gone.
~ Walter de la Mare (1912)