The 29th of October was selected as Hermit Day due to the fact that the Roman Catholic Saint Colman mac Duagh’s festival is observed in Ireland’s diocese of Kilmacdaugh each year on this day. It is believed that the saint died on October 29, 632 CE. Colman mac Duagh was renowned for his work promoting the Church and was also noteworthy for being a pious monk.
A person doesn’t need to cloister oneself away in a monastery or nunnery, or a hut in a forest in order to live as a hermit. Positive, asocial people are found everywhere in many living situations. Hermits can be located in bustling cities like New York or Tokyo. They are not necessarily Roman Catholic nor even Christian. Some eschew organized religions altogether and become contemplatives of life, itself.
“In spite of being professionally gregarious, in my nonpaid hours I’m a bit of a hermit. After being around a crew of fifty people for twelve hours a day on a film set, I really like my alone time, and as always, I abhor small talk.”–film and TV actor, Rob Lowe
There are poets, novelists, composers, painters, sculptors, inventors, and scientists who self-identify as hermits. I’ve met solitary people who are not artists but work regular work shifts every day. They simply prefer to live and work alone because doing so suits their nature.
My default mode is solitude. The idea of living alone in the Himalyas with only the essential artifacts necessary for survival is appealing. However, whenever I think about the actuality of living that way, I know I’m not cut out for such a life. The life of a Tibetan hermit monk is harsh and extreme. I prefer to live the lifestyle of the Middle Way–not too harsh and not too soft.
For the time being, the little house near the eastern city limits of a small city in Nebraska suits me well. The comforts and conveniences of civilization are within walking distance as is the quietude of a rural landscape. Downtown is a 15-minute walk away from home and a small river runs adjacent to my backyard. It’s a small, humble, antique house in a quiet neighborhood. These “middle way” surroundings promote a peaceful attitude. It’s tucked away from the main drags, but is readily accessible to close friends and acquaintances I allow into my private, physical world.
Now that I’m retired from my primary career, I can come and go pretty much as I wish. Most of the time I experiment with simple creative endeavors. I’m at the age where I don’t feel compelled to prove some sort of greatness, yet I don’t want to be completely anonymous I prefer to live in the middle way as a civilized hermit.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes a quote from journalist and memoirist, Michael Finkel. “In an odd sort of way, the computer and the Internet is the hermit’s ideal form of communication. You don’t have to see anyone. To send an email, you don’t have to talk to anyone. You can just send it, and they’ll read it on their own. The Internet has been really good for hermits.”