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"If solitude exists, and I don't know if it does, one should certainly have the right to dream of it occasionally as paradise." (Albert Camus, Personal Writings, p12) I've always had a thing about empty benches. Wooden, metal, concrete, it doesn't matter. The only thing that makes a bench important enough for me to photograph is that it is empty. Because of that I've come to associate benches with solitude. Quiet, set off from activity, forgotten . . . almost. Looking at them gives me peace, and what else screams peace more than paradise? I've just started reading Albert Camus. Actually I tried to read The Stranger years ago, and it was one of those rare books I couldn't finish. My copy now has a coffee ring because it served as a coaster for months before I finally decided I wouldn't even think about trying to finish it. Then I found his Personal Writings, and I loved it! So, now I've got to find my copy of The Stranger and I think I'm ready to try again. That's what a little regular solitude will do for you.

Crystal River, Florida, November 2021

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