Loneliness isn't about being deep in a wilderness, away from people. There is talk of a carpenter who hits the dusty streets for forty days, but this isolation is more literary than anything else. The man who goes out in the dark has people to which he can return. True loneliness is in the midst of the crowd, sitting out at dinner with a phone full of missed texts. The quiet of the dark underscores this disjunct, exposes the fundamental emptiness that ruins comfort.
There are many types of alone, I think. There is the desolation of having no one and that of knowing that you missed the chance to have someone. One is a longing for a future. The other is the punishment of a lost world. There is also the loneliness of vision, in which one's project reascends community. All of these depths determine their means of redemption. The woman who is formed by her project comes out of the cave to find the others who have been transformed by their own work. Her tireless craft has instated her to a world where she is not only connected, but respected. The lonely man happens upon a woman or man at the bar. Or the woman of his past returns.
The Atlas is indifferent to whichever state of mind brings me to its saddle. I have ridden it in isolation as well connection. On the road I have chased the twilight of my missed child, ridden it to and from companions who went on to make gracious or painful exits. At times, the bike itself is the cordoning element; it is my project, or the means whereby I contemplate my project. But it always returns me to the world. It may be indifferent, but its effects on me are never that. My loneliness is either deepened or alleviated. No matter which it is, I am compelled to keep riding.
Yeah, the carpenter rode out for 40 nights. But he had God and the devil. That's basically cheating; the rest of should be so lucky.