Monday, March 28, 2011

Getting Back To Basics...

A Field of Tulips in Holland
Claude Monet
1886

As you may (or may not...) have noticed, I haven't been doing much blogging lately. There are a couple of reasons for that, the first being that spring has sprung here in Vancouver, and the second being that -- for some strange reason -- I get busy and forget to turn on my computer. Yes, I know that does sound odd, doesn't it? I have been discovering lately that there is a life away from technology. Oh, I can hear you all gasping... "There is...?" Yes, there is.

Yesterday was a beautiful spring day here, and I laced up my new, very comfortable, very unsexy walking shoes and went for a walk. I felt as though I were in a strange, surreal world. The streets were filled with people -- silent people -- all with their heads down, reading, texting, or playing with the apps on their handheld computers. Outdoors. On a gorgeous day. I wondered if any of those folks noticed the tulips, daffodils and the cherry trees are blossoming.  Probably not.

How clever are the businessmen behind the new technological devices. They created a product and then convinced us we need it, we cannot live without it, day or night, rain or shine, 24/7. We no longer live in the real world, but in a world of little glowing screens, apps and pixels. As I watched everyone yesterday, I felt like the lone survivor from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". Everyone seemed to be in an unblinking trace.  It's no wonder folks like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are amongst the wealthiest men in the world. They have created an addiction, and like any addiction, we need larger and larger fixes all the time.  They're our pushers and we're their junkies.

Being a bit of a contrarian, I am being pushed away from the cyber world, and moving more towards the natural world.  I didn't plan it that way, it just happened.  I have discovered the real world again, and it's wonderful.  There are birds and flowers and sunshine and rain...  Yesterday I even saw some baby raccoons.  I wonder how much those people are missing, when they have their heads down staring at their mobiles.  Or perhaps I am the one missing out on all the new apps.  Who knows.  Maybe I have become unplugged.  There's probably an app for that.

19 comments:

Jennifer D said...

Jo they are missing so much aren't they? I don't use a cell phone or apps (?) I am quite addicted to my home computer for a wealth of things but I have no trouble leaving it for the day. I also find myself wanting to rebel against technology and get back to nature. I get so frustrated with people in the supermarket or post office using their devices,"look up! you are in the way!" ;0)

The Bug said...

Just today I was thinking of being my own mother & instituting a time limit for my home computer usage. Say, 2 hours a night. That would still leave plenty of time to live in the real world, wouldn't it? Now, should I do the computer thing right when I get home, or wait until later? Decisions decisions!

L. D. Burgus said...

Yes, I have thought about quitting the blog world. I really like the painting by Monet. I had a very bad print of it in my classroom and I still liked it.

Leslie: said...

I hear ya! I do have a cellphone, but it's buried deep within my purse in case of emergency. I don't want an Iphone (whatever it is) and I don't want a tablet to read books (can't remember the name) as I much prefer the scent of paper. I love the outdoors and never go out without my camera (still haven't figured out all the things it can do and it's already considered a dinosaur!). Oh, for the good old days! lol

Charlene said...

The cyber world is like soap operas in my opinion. If I miss doing my daily jigzone puzzles or don't look at the astrological picture of the day, I am just fine. It's all there when you want it and there's no hurry to check all those sites.

I do use text messaging and e.mail for business communiation, so I at least have to look at my phone.

Mia said...

That's true in the "civilised" countries but fortunately not in most of the world. Not yet at least.

When I saw the painting on this post I was surprised by how good it was. Then I saw it was a Monet. No wonder.

Whitney Lee said...

I will say that's yet another thing my children have helped me avoid. When I am busy taking care of them I cannot spend all my time with technology. We are too busy playing with blocks or studying the outside so we can figure out how to draw clouds or bending down to look at the little bloom on the weeds in the yard. They help remind me of the beauty and wonder in the little things.

Spring is a time of renewal. What better time to rediscover the world outside your window?

DJan said...

I agree, Jo, that there needs to be a balance. I can't appreciate anything if it's the only thing I know. So yes, it's good to get away for awhile and come back renewed. Or not come back. I hope you do, though, otherwise I would miss you!

Blue Ridge Mountains said...

I think what you have is spring fever. Spring is such a glorious time of year. I am retired and live in the country and enjoy the best of both worlds.

aka Penelope said...

Nothing beats a spring walk through the real world where streets are lined with blossoming trees and flowers. But I hope you will not completely unplug since I just found you online. You’ve got me wondering what tree house you might be living in in Kits. :)

lgsquirrel said...

Spot on! We must remember to be the masters of technology and not its slaves. Likewise, we must seek to be the lovers of nature and not her master.

Alicia said...

Well I think if my computer were just a tad faster I wouldn't spend so much time on here...but as it is it takes forever to download photos for my posts. But hopefully a lap top is in the future and then even though I will have two computers, I will spend less time of them :-D

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Thank you for the reminder. I have always been very connected to the natural world, but lately have found myself retreating into my computer. It has become an addiction in that I am afraid I'll miss something. And as you pointed out, I am missing so much. I've pondered this a lot, and know that I'm escaping from dealing with my husband's illness 24/7, seeking the most sparse contact with other people online. But I will remember your post and begin weaning myself because I miss what has always been nourishing and rejuvenating to me, the world outside.

fiftyodd said...

There's nothing like a walk in spring anywhere in the UK! The flowers are breathtaking. Living in South Africa, I am lucky enough to be married into a family of sheep farmers. The farms are big like in Australia because of the terrain and it's a privilege to go there once a year (The Karoo) and be able to walk off into the sunset - no habitation for as far as you can see.

Kathryn said...

Since we've not been blessed with kids, we've been unofficially mentoring a family with three children. My husband calls them our "rent-a-kids."

They have recently gotten a couple of gadgets, and the last time we took them to lunch, the table was entirely gadget playing. My husband & i talked about this later and decided from now on, the table/eating is a "no-gadget" zone.

We will also limit the use of them in our house.

We brought the two boys back with us one afternoon and put on a movie. But the older boy was off with the computer and his iPod and the little one running around. So we turned the movie off. The older one was surprised, "Is the movie over already?" I know that kids can "multitask," but there are times when it is worth it not to do so. From now on, movies will also be "no-gadget" and we will all sit to watch them.

I certainly am appreciative of all the technology we have these days, but i think personal relationships are changing, and it is easy for people to be rude. We'll do our little bit to fight it.

Part of our mentoring intention is to model things differently for these kids. I'm hoping that in the future what they will remember is conversation and fun around the table, not that they sat and played an innocuous but stupid game the whole time.

Susan said...

But sadly, it has started raining again. But I know that Spring and Summer are just around the corner as the flowers are blooming in Mountain View and buds are showing up on the tree outside my office in New West.

JeannetteLS said...

I think it's the balance that's key. I made my living at the computer, so I NEVER used it socially for a long time. Then I could not make a living and it was my lifeline, a connection that allowed me to remember who I am. Now I love to move from my real world life back here to "talk about it" and to connect with the art of others out there. I do not care to text. I have never played a game on my computer. It, to me, is a tool that has allowed me to connect to interesting people with fascinating observations of our shared real world, and to develop my own arts before the eyes--the supportive eyes--of other artists. To miss Dave King's poetry, Carl's photos, your musings? Those things don't feel virtual. But I must remember to keep leaping into my OWN real world and check for my daffodil shoots and the beginnings of perennials curling out of the soil. I am grateful to technology, but it ain't no fine wine to me! Or wine in a box either.

Kimberly said...

Spring has sprung & it is wonderful.

Aunt Amelia's Attic said...

I just found your blog but... Good for you, to become unplugged. Perhaps I can too, if the snow ever stops falling here. -pout-

Gentle hugs...