Today is a good day. Today I decided that it was time to get back on the trail. Even though I have been riding the stationary bike to get ready to hike, it wasn’t easy. It really wasn’t easy. I did a nice 3.2-mile loop at Ward Pound Ridge and the one nice thing about many of the trails at WPR is that the number of hills are minimal.
Unfortunately, even these small “inclines” almost killed me today. But that’s ok. It was magnificent just to get out. It has now been 269 days since I have hiked. When I started hiking it was a glorious 41 degrees. The sun felt great on my face and the fact that I was actually outside and on a trail made it that much better. With almost clear blue skies and no wind blowing, the silence in the woods was blissful. You don’t realize how loud and noisy the world is that we live in is until you are smacked in the face with an extended period of silence. Pure bliss!!!
So what does this mean? Since I had no issues with my ankle, I am going to resume my old hiking schedule for the time between now and when school ends, which is “get out as often as possible.”
The calendar may say it is spring, but this small pond tells a different story!
I have always had a love for books, especially those that were full of adventure and mystery. The Hardy Boys first mesmerized me when I was nine with their adventures. I remember running “pell-mell” in our back yard with my friends. Then came Stephen King and his own unique kind of crazy. When I got into high school I traveled with Kerouac, the Merry Pranksters, and the Hells Angels as they each created their own individual kind of mayhem. And I devoured them all.
I remember scouring the shelves in book stores looking for something to read. I usually didn’t stray much from the familiar, but at times I would take a leap of faith and read something from a genre that I wasn’t familiar with or maybe just didn’t like. For me at that age that was a big deal. These days I’ll read just about anything.
I remember the smell of new books and how it was almost intoxicating. I remember folding the crease of the page that I left off on instead of using a bookmark. I also remember putting books down and then spending hours trying to find them. I never read one book at a time. If I saw a book I wanted to read, I bought it and started reading that one as well.
Today, however, things have changed greatly. My Kindle has sanitized the entire process of reading. No more browsing through a bookstore or feeling the texture of the pages as you become part of the story. No more creased pages or paper bookmarks. Now you’re only a click away from any book that you desire.
Personally, I think that it is sad that kids today may never experience the smell of a new book or enjoy the entire process of going to the bookstore and finding something to read. Technology has made it too easy. It seems that technology is doing this with everything.
The good thing is I will never run out of anything to read.
Today I left my cell phone at home. And much to my surprise, I didn’t even miss it. Not for a minute. I thought for sure that I would think about it all day long, that I would pine away until the time came when I would have my phone again in my sweaty hands. But no, none of that happened. I didn’t break out in a sweat, the sky didn’t fall and the world didn’t end.
When I told my students what I had done, they were more panicked than I was. There I was, sitting at my desk, pondering what I was planning on doing that day and the questions came at me rapid fire. “What are you going to do?” “What if you miss a text or a phone call?” “How will people know where you are and what you are doing?” As deftly as I could, I dodged each of the questions as if my non-existent street cred might be ruined.
How could I leave my house and come to work without my cell and survive? It’s a question I knew I had to find the answer to. But then I started to realize how absurd this all was. Why should I be worried that I left my celly at home? I have a landline in my office that anyone who needs to can get in touch with me if they need to. So why?
Can we all agree that we are all way too dependent on these and other electronic devices? Why do we need a cell phone with us 24/7? I know I may be showing my age here, but back in the day when I was a teenager, we all seemed to be able to get in touch with everyone we needed to when we needed to. It was as simple as finding a pay phone.
But today was liberating. I felt free. I wasn’t looking at my cell every two seconds for texts, missed calls and news feeds. I didn’t even worry that I might be missing something. What is that called? FOMO? Fear of missing out? The entire day seemed as if I was floating on a cloud and didn’t have a care in the world. And I didn’t even care who knew it.
But what will happen tomorrow? Will I forget it at home again? Will I choose to leave it at home? I don’t have an answer for you. Anything could happen.
You see some pretty amazing things when you are sitting in your Jeep waiting for your daughter’s hockey practice to finish. Today, I was looking at the clouds while a nice tasty Eyes played in the background on the Grateful Dead channel and of course I started taking some photos. This is the result. What happens tomorrow?? More rain!
Technology has improved all of our lives, yes? Is that a fair statement? We can’t deny that not only have we seen improvements, but every day activities are made easier. We can shop on computers, iPads, lap tops and even our phones! We can have anything that we want or need at our door in a day or less.
But as with every advancement we see in society, it comes at a cost. Unfortunately that cost is our children. You see, I work in a high school. For 20 years I have seen the dependence on cell phones and other forms of tech increase to the point of no return. Heads bent and shoulders hunched, students and teachers alike move through the halls from class to class like zombies in the Walking Dead. Unfortunately, like in the Walking Dead, we can’t dispatch kids or colleagues to a better place for living a zombie like existence.
We are raising what could be generations of young folks who can’t hold a conversation and are content with staring blankly at a screen. How about reading a book?
Ask them to put them away in class and you get attitude. For that matter, ask just about anyone to put their phones away and you would think you are asking them to give up a limb. Wait, maybe we are…Anyway, I found these outstanding images that give a pretty honest look at what life is like today. Enjoy!!
I know that the second image was done by Angel Boligan Corbo. I’m not sure about the other two. If you know, please let me know!
In his essay about silence, noted explorer, author and publisher Erling Kagge notes three things-1) The basic state in our brain is one of chaos, 2) An abundance of activities leaves us with a feeling of experientialpoverty and 3) We are living in the age of noise.
Why does he say this? Think about it. What do we do every day? We wake up and what is the first thing we do? We look at our phones. We check e-mails, texts and phone messages. We get to work and do the same. After work we repeat the process and it never seems like we get off of the electronic devices crazy train.
One of the things I learned while I was in the hospital a couple of months ago was that nothing happened to me when I couldn’t use my cell phone or ipad (to face time). The world didn’t end, I didn’t cease to exist or go crazy. I just did what I did when I was a kid, I read books. Honestly, I didn’t care that i couldn’t access my phone.
Imagine this-six days of quiet. Not total silence (I was in a hospital), but I did not have the usual distractions that we are all forced to endure every day. I will admit that it was nice. My mind became uncluttered and I didn’t find myself checking the phone or ipad for messages, notification and e-mails.
My idea is a simple one. Take one day a week and disconnect. It’s not that difficult. As a matter fact, it’s really quite nice. I did it and survived.
Does anyone out there do anything to disconnect on a daily basis? I would love to read some of your thoughts.