Prisoner & recluse

The New Yorker features a brief essay titled “My Prison Cell: the Refuge of a Recluse” by an imprisoned man who is personally also a recluse. He describes the paradox of imprisonment and reclusion in a poignantly direct manner.

I’m a recluse. By definition, that implies I don’t like being around people. But the oddity of this situation is that I don’t enjoy the feeling of being alone. It’s just that I feel as if I should be alone.


New Zealand hermit Pete update

The Wireless and Stuff article “Hermit of the highway: How a man in the woods survived Kaikōura’s 7.8 earthquake” updates New Zealand hermit Pete, who shrugs off the quake’s effects on his life. Being next to the sea, the tremendous noise spooked him a bit, and the quake’s rockfall cut off road access, ruined Pete’s garden and drinking water site, but spared his hut and solar panels.


Tian Xuesen, mountain painter

Painter Tian Xuesen has devoted his artistic efforts to painting the majestic Huashan mountains of China. The Shanghai Daily reports in an article titled “Tapping a muse in the solitude of mountains.”

Sometimes when Tian Xuesen sits in city traffic, waiting for a red light to turn green, he feels said he feels dislocated.

Small wonder that urban noise and crowds make him uncomfortable. More that half his year is spent deep in the silent mountains of Shaanxi Province, where he paints.

“With no one to talk to, I am surrounded by silence for weeks in the mountain,” says the 41-year-old oil painter, referring to his refuge in Huashan (Mount Hua), about 120 kilometers east of Xi’an, the capital city, and the westernmost peak of the “Five Great Mountains of China.”

“The mountain is and will be the sole subject of the rest of my life,” he says.

” … Years of living alone in the mountain have taught me what to choose and what to give up,” Tian says. “I have chosen to give up city conveniences and embrace solitude and art.

The article describes Tian’s life and routines in the mountains, his earliest years acquainting himself with the surroundings, how he came to settle on his artistic themes, and the significance of the mountain and solitude.


Irish hermit Peter O’Neill

The Irish Sun profiles “English-accented” hermit Peter O’Neill, who died recently at 71. O’Neill lived alone in the Wicklow mountains in a hut, and maintained a large number of books, journals, and writings. The local priest came to his acquaintance and enjoyed O’Neill wide range of knowledge.

Interestingly, Peter is not the only person living in such a way in Ireland. And priest Fr Crotty reckons that perhaps these people who have detached themselves from society are worth paying attention to.

He said: “There are 37 other such men living in forests around Ireland. Maybe they are people we should be looking at and listening to, maybe they’re telling us something very profound about the need to be in touch with our world and our environment.

“To that extent I’d look up to him and say, ‘well done’.”