What do National Hermit Day, Solitude, and Your Laramie County Library System have to do with One Another? A lot, It Turns Out.
October 29th is National Hermit Day. That’s right, a day entirely devoted to hermits. When you hear the word “hermit,” what do you think of? Does it conjure up images of bearded recluses living alone in the middle of the woods? Or, perhaps, you imagine a quiet individual who hardly ever leaves the basement. You might even think of a secluded monastery where monks pray in silent solitude.
The word “hermit” invokes images of physically isolated individuals, and often times, we envision them as strange or odd. However, there are moments in all of our lives, whether it be a nearly-missed accident at a busy intersection, a brusque run-in with a frustrated neighbor, or a misinformed comment on your Facebook feed, where we want to escape from the world, even if it is only temporary.
At this point, you’re probably wondering what National Hermit Day or, in fact, anything hermit related has to do with the library. Well, it has more to do with it than you might think.
The word “hermit” derives from the Greek word Erėmos, which means solitary, and there is no better place to start your search for solitude than at the Laramie County Library System. Solitude is something we often search for as we turn to a good book on a chilly fall day, a snowy winter night, or a warm summer morning. A book is the perfect place to lose oneself and find respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Reading can be a completely solitary adventure, one where everything ceases to exist except for yourself and the literary world you are exploring, and for the hours you spend lost in between the covers of a book, you exist as a “hermit” a “person living in solitude or seeking to do so.”
Some of literature’s greatest poets and authors were hermits. Henry David Thoreau wrote Walden while alone in his cabin on Walden Pond and admitted to fostering a love for solitude. Emily Dickinson did not leave her Massachusetts home once for the last seventeen years of her life, and much of her writing is introspective and reflective. Ralph Waldo Emerson believed strongly in the power of solitude, and wrote three essays, Society and Solitude, Self-Reliance, and Nature, that all considered the theme. We have works by all three authors at the Laramie County Library System, and perusing their thoughts on solitude may help to expand your own notions of the word “hermit.” We even have a novel titled, The Hermit, by Thomas Rydahl, about an alienated man named Erhard who works to solve a murder mystery.
So, come grab a book, find a quiet corner of the library, and celebrate National Hermit Day with us by finding solitude and solace in the stacks.