Winter sun enlightens the snow and hoarfrost around the hermit's shack

My name is Beth, and I live a mostly solitary life in a rustic shack overlooking a rocky-bottomed mountain creek, in a place I call Hermit Hollow. I am a writer, storyteller, and sometime-artist by avocation — but, for decades and until recently, not by occupation. And that disconnect was causing me increasing misery in body and oppression in spirit.

Gradually I came to adopt this perspective from Holocaust survivor, author, and psychologist Viktor Frankl: “The meaning of life is to give life meaning.” I knew I had some compelling stories in me to write, and potentially an even better one to live — but to accomplish either aim required the kind of full-on dedication and trust I had never before jumped into with both feet and an overflowing heart.

So — despite plenty of reasons not to — I went for it. I left behind all other occupations, began a quiet practice of relying on inner guidance to lead me, and chose to spend the days of my life here in my beloved Hollow… seeking to build my own kind of peace, meaning, inspiration, freedom.

As it happens, I’ve found myself becoming a contemplative critter (in a Taoist-Quaker, oddball kind of way) as well as an ornery one. Now I wouldn’t have it otherwise — especially since I’m learning, to my surprise and delight, that a contemplative life embraces laughter, originality, and wildness along with humble wonder.

I’ve started this blog as my way of heeding the message of the Jubilee (Leviticus 25:10) — the words embossed on the Liberty Bell: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof.”

But freedom isn’t free, and peace doesn’t always come easily. A Hermit’s existence involves difficulties, as does any other way of living. I think it’s important to deal with these matters candidly, so I’ve challenged myself to speak truthfully about the dark side of solitude and a creative, contemplative life — along with the bright bliss of it.

Thank you for visiting my virtual hermitage. Relax by the fire, put your feet up, and “set a spell.” It is my hope and intention to create an experience of deep peace, joy, inner rightness, and freedom — a small taste of life in Hermit Hollow — for every one of my readers.