While skiing along Eagle River at sunset, we stop to watch seals, driftwood, and small pans of ice move downriver on the ebbing tide. As I always do when seeing a seal in river in winter, I wonder why they enter salmon-less waters on the flood tide. Unlike me, they can’t be seeking solitude for they usually travel in company. My volunteer job at the local hospital this week made me look deeper at the meaning of solitude, which assumes the shape of loneliness for patients during slow moving weekend days. As long as solitude promises me peace through isolation I will seek it in the company of my little dog; hoping it’s isolation will provide curative rest if I ever spend the weekend in a hospital bed remembering a seal gazing up at me from river waters painted by a winter sunset.