Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

What would it be like, I wondered, to live with that heightened sensitivity to the lives given for ours? To consider the tree in the Kleenex, the algae in the toothpaste, the oaks in the floor, the grapes in the wine; to follow back the thread of life in everything and pay it respect? Once you start, it’s hard to stop, and you begin to feel yourself awash in gifts.

—  Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and The Teachings of Plants (Milkweed Editions, September 16, 2013) (via acti-veg)

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Not far from the city I had a secret refuge, a small cove that I liked to visit at the kindling of the morning star. At that hour there was nothing more translucent under heaven than the shallow sea between the rocks. The seabed was everywhere visible and the water, blue as an eye, grew lighter the closer you got to the surface, until it turned green, then vanished—and I breathed it in.
It was there that the god found me.

– Sjón, The Whispering Muse


Notes:

  • Quote: Thank you Sawsan for sharing. 942 consecutive (almost) days in a row on this morning walk in my almost “secret refuge, a small cove that I liked to visit at the kindling of the morning star.” These words magic, capture it.
  • DK Photo @ Daybreak. 6:14 am. 48° F. December 8, 2022. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.  More pictures from this morning’s walk here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Sunday Morning (Miracle. All of it.)

Of all natural patterns, the one I think that moves me most, is the sight of a flock of wild geese.

A single goose passing high overhead carries with it a sense of freedom and adventure. “He is,” in the words of Hal Borland, “the yearning and the dream, the search and the wonder, the unfettered foot and the wind’s-will wing.”

But a complete formation of geese is, for me, the epitome of wanderlust. Each one leaves me, no matter what I happen to be doing, wondering how long it will take me to pack my bags. And it’s not just migratory restlessness, the knowledge that by dawn the flock will be in other climes. I don’t feel the same way about swallows. There’s something about the goose formation itself, that arrowhead symbol of limitless horizons, that hints at appropriate and meaningful adaptation. A sense not only of going somewhere, but of doing so together in the best possible way.

Observations of geese in passage, show that they invariably adopt a “vee” formation, flying on the same level, equally spaced out but not necessarily along arms of equal length. The important thing seems to be that the vee must have an apex – that the leading bird should always have others on either side.

It has been suggested that this characteristic formation is nothing more than a simple consequence of the fact that geese have immobile eyes on the sides of their head; and that, with the beak pointed forward, the best way to keep a neighbouring bird in full view is to take up a place just behind it, either to the left or right eye side. But direct measurement of flights of Canada geese shows that the angle between the arms of the vee formation varies even in a single species between 28 and 44 degrees, which doesn’t necessarily correspond with the fixed angle of clearest focus.

Another theory suggests that the vee formation allows one goose, presumably a stronger and more experienced bird, to lead the way, cleaving a path through the air for the others. But, once again, field studies show that the leadership changes constantly and that this position, far from being reserved for wise old ganders, is in fact shared out amongst the younger and weaker members of the flock.

The answer seems to be largely aerodynamic. A recent computer study shows that there is an upwash beyond and behind the tip of a moving wing that can be useful to other birds nearby. If the spacing between wings is optimal, this saving in energy can be considerable. For instance, a formation of twenty-five birds can, just by adopting the most favourable formation, increase their effective range by 71 per cent.

And this seems to be precisely what happens. Travelling geese usually fly in groups of around twenty individuals and invariably adopt a vee formation. If they flew in line abreast on a common front, the birds in the centre would enjoy twice as much uplift as the ones on the ends of the line. But as soon as the line is bent backwards, the ones at the rear begin to pick up additional upwash from all those in front, which effectively cancels out most of the disadvantage of their position. And as they travel, other small inequities which may exist are dealt with by regular and democratic changes of place.

Lyall Watson, Beyond Supernature: A New Natural History of the Supernatural


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Cove Island Park this morning. For other photos from this morning’s walk, click here and here.
  • Post Title: Post title Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.”

Lightly Child, Lightly.

It sometimes sweeps through him in quick glimpses like an illumination and yes, yes, then he’s filled with a kind of happiness and he thinks that there might be a place somewhere… what if everything could be like that? … He thinks about a place like that, which is obviously no place, he thinks, he falls into a kind of sleep that isn’t like sleep but more a bodily movement where he’s not moving… everything’s heavy and hard and there’s a place in the big heaviness that’s an unbelievably gentle shining light, like faith, yes, like a promise.

Jon Fosse, The Other Name: Septology I-II.


Notes:D

  • DK Photo @ Daybreak. 67° F, with light rain. 6 am. November 12, 2022. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Lightly Child, Lightly.

I saw a man once, I waved to him and he did not wave back; I felt very self-conscious, partly because of how often I was walking this road. I walked until I got to the small cove we had driven past the first day we came here that had thrilled me so quietly; it still gave me a quiet sense of awe… And then I would walk back again.

— Elizabeth Strout, Lucy by the Sea: A Novel (Random House, September 20, 2022)

Notes:

  • Elizabeth Strout’s words spoke to me, this 905th consecutive day (almost, like in a row) on my morning walk at Cove Island Park.
  • Photos from yesterday’s morning walk @ Cove Island Park. More photos from yesterday’s walk here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

74 seconds of must watch TV

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
“Now a year ago I put you a very similar video, but I’m telling you it’s not the same. Here you will see how a pair of blue tit examines the new home, builds the nest, lays the eggs and cares for the young. Don’t miss a detail” 🐣. 📹 Nest Box. pic.twitter.com/4S57xWigtV

— Barrufet del temps (@MeteoBarrufet) October 6, 2022

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js


Thank you

Miracle. All of it. (19 sec)


Notes: Source: Lunch Time @ Monterey Bay.  Post Title: Post title Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.”

Yep.


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Gull @ Daybreak. 42° F. 6:48 am. September 24, 2022. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More photos from this morning here.
  • Quote Source: @jessecase (via Last Tambourine)

this is a moment to remember

The older we get, the more rapidly time seems to move. This phenomenon has been well documented by psychologists and average humans alike, but it was only a couple of years ago that we had a physical explanation for our changing perception of time. In 2019, mechanical engineering professor Adrian Bejan presented a peer-reviewed argument based on the physics of neural signal processing. Bejan hypothesized that, over time, the rate at which we process visual information slows down, which makes time seem to speed up as we age.

This tracks. Time feels especially slippery for me lately. Days with a toddler are simultaneously long and short. And the weeks, months, and years of pandemic life have been increasingly hard to wrap my head around. As writer Christine Speer Lejune described it, “Some memories from these pandemic years are sharply vivid; others feel as hazy as an old film reel, more like impressions of having done things than memories of actually doing them. Almost all of them are untethered from anything like chronology, just bobbing around together in a two-year-old pandemic stew.”

Time passes. Things happen. Days drag on and weeks zoom past. Before I know it, six weeks have gone by, and I’m left wondering what I did with all that time.

Thankfully, I have photos to rely on. Even if no one else sees them but me, my family, and a few random friends. My phone is full of big and small moments, captured so I don’t forget them.

The vast majority of the photos I take these days are of my daughter. I document her dutifully for a multitude of reasons: because she’s cute, because she grows so quickly, and because I know she’ll have few, if any, memories from this time.

I also take photos of her because she loves seeing them. “Pick-urs?” she asks, pointing to my phone. “Yes, we can look at pictures,” I reply.

She snuggles up in the crook of my arm as we scroll through the same old set of images. “Paint!” she shouts, seeing herself trying out watercolors for the first time. “Mama!” she says, pointing to a photo of me posing for the camera. “Beep beep!” she cheers, pushing her hand against an imaginary wheel, as she spots an image of herself in the grocery cart that’s shaped like a car.

She’s seen these photos a hundred times, and still, they bring joy.

These photos bring me joy, too. As counterintuitive as it may seem, taking photos helps me to stay in the present—signaling that this is a moment to remember. (Turns out, science backs this up.) Afterwards, looking through those photographs reminds me how beautiful everyday life can be…

Katie Hawkins-Gaar, from “I Want to Remember” (My Sweet Dumb Brain, August 16, 2022.) A newsletter about facing life’s ups and downs, all while being kind to yourself. Katie Hawkins-Gaar was 31 when her husband, Jamie, collapsed while running a half-marathon and died in 2017. A year-and-a-half after Jamie’s death, Katie launched her newsletter, My Sweet Dumb Brain, all about the ups and downs of grief.)

Lightly Child, Lightly

In the midst of financial news that seems to get grimmer by the day, one story of a man trying to escape caught my eye. Andrew Formica, the 51-year-old CEO of a $68 billion investment firm, abruptly quit his job. He did not have another job waiting—or anything else, it seems. When pressed about his plans, he said, “I just want to go sit at the beach and do nothing.”

Easy, right? Not for a lot of us, it isn’t. Besides the fact that you need to have a good deal of financial security to quit working, “it is awfully hard work doing nothing,” as Algernon said in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. I can relate to this. I work long hours and have sometimes planned to go away and do nothing just for a week or two. But when I try, I find I am utterly incompetent: Idle chitchat drives me crazy; I get the jimmy legs 30 minutes into a movie; sitting on a beach is a form of torture. Whenever I make an effort to rest, my mind always wanders back to the work I am fleeing.

As difficult as it may be, Formica has the right idea. For the sake of happiness, strivers and hard-driving work machines of any income level need to learn to stop. If you are in this category, nothing should be high on your to-do list

Choose soft fascination.

During your unstructured vacation, choose activities that can gently hold your attention while also leaving you plenty of bandwidth to mentally meander. This is what three University of Michigan psychologists call “soft fascination,” and you might find it by walking in nature, or watching the waves. In contrast, “hard fascination” (found by, say, watching television) occupies attention and rules out mind-wandering. Research has found that soft fascination is more restorative than hard fascination. For example, in a 2018 study, survey respondents said that walking in nature was 15 percent more effective at helping them “get away from it all” than watching television…

If scheduling leisure seems unnatural to you, consider the way good health requires you to schedule your meals and exercise at more or less a certain time each day for a particular amount of time. Schedule “white space” in your day, and keep it off-limits from the tyrannical urgencies of your work (as well as from eating and exercise). If your guilt creeps in, or if you’re worried that “wasting” this time will somehow make you poorer, try to remember the words of the Welsh poet William Henry Davies: “A poor life this if, full of care, / We have no time to stand and stare.”

— Arthur C. Brooks, from “How to Embrace Doing Nothing” (The Atlantic, August 4, 2022)


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. 6:51 a.m. May 8, 2022. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT.
  • Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

A well-cultivated mind comes to recognize the good, the true and the beautiful

I learned calligraphy in the seventh grade when my classmate’s mother taught the basics during an afternoon art class. In my case, it was pearls before swine. I was hardly an apt pupil. Art was where I parked myself between recess and after-school soccer. But even in my grubby pre-adolescence, her elegant pen strokes struck me as beautiful…

I’ve never employed my chirographic skill apart from that homework assignment. I do, however, remember the lesson vividly for three reasons.

First, it taught me there is beauty in this world. Some things are pleasing when seen; calligraphy is such a thing. It is beautiful to behold and drew me out of my pubescent self.

Second, beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but many see beauty in the same things. Some objects are man-made and others are natural, but attraction to beautiful things is nearly universal. This speaks to an ineffable longing written on our hearts.

Third, we each have the capacity to create beauty through the choices we make and things we do. Not all we do will be beautiful, but it all has the potential to be. The gift of freedom behind all these choices, made and to be made, is itself beautiful.

I’m glad I was dialed into middle-school art class that day so long ago. An impromptu calligraphy lesson taught me a lot about beauty in this world and the one to come.

— Mike Kerrigan, from My First Lesson in Beauty (wsj, July 30, 2022). Kerrigan is an attorney in Charlotte, NC


Notes:

  • Post and Post Title inspiration: From a response to this article by Jim Reardon: I enjoyed Mike Kerrigan’s “My First Lesson in Beauty” (op-ed, July 30). Mine came when I encountered Shakespeare in ninth grade. Never had I imagined language could be so powerful and, yes, beautiful. I share Mr. Kerrigan’s skepticism that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. A well-cultivated mind comes to recognize the good, the true and the beautiful, whether in art, nature, science or noble acts.
  • Photo by Diana Schroder-Bode via unsplash

Walking. With Greg Louganis.

4:50 a.m. 817 consecutive (almost) days on my daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. 816 days, like in a row.

I walk.

You know the formula for a great photo day-break:

  1. Low Tide.
  2. Clouds.
  3. No Humans.

And today, a Trifecta Miss = Poor shooting day on all three counts. (Shooting, meaning not assault weapons, but with a Canon. Sorry, assault weapons are top of mind.)

Yet, there’s a consolation prize. It’s the end of July. Humidity is low, it’s 63° F and breezy. What’s better than that?

But even with the magical weather, I’m restless, uninspired. I plod around the park, itching to get back into the car and do Something. And I’m apparently not alone, with Seán Hewitt, in All Down Darkness Wide, “Even in these quiet moments I was afraid of purposelessness.”

I turn back thinking I’ll get a stalker silhouette shot with some kids on the break wall. And at that moment, Something, makes me stop and look out onto Long Island Sound. There, in the sky, an osprey prowls in a tight circle overhead. Being a sh*tty measure of distance, I couldn’t tell you whether he was 100 feet or 100 yards up, but let’s just say he was high.

First miracle of the morning. I actually stop and see if anything will happen. He widens his arc overhead, and continues to circle. Just wait DK, just wait another bloody minute. If he can circle and wait for food, so can you. Just wait, damn it.

[Read more…]

Walking. With those unheard are sweeter?

4:50 a.m. Late jump. Scrambling to get out before sunrise. 816 consecutive (almost) days on my daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. 816 days, like in a row.

I walk.

Cloud cover is heavy, humidity is heavier. Twilight is patchy.

I was up late last night reading Seán Hewitt’s memoir All Down Darkness Wide.  He shares an excerpt from a Keat’s Poem: ‘Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard / Are sweeter.’ And Hewitt continues…”And what of them.”

And what of them.

I didn’t find Keats, or poetry, until late in life. And like the toddler scrambling to catch his parent who lurches ahead, I’m still playing catch-up.  I thought I understood the lines, but lacked confidence to say, yep, that’s right, you got it DK.  So, I shut down my Kindle, and googled the lines for an interpretation by Meursault to validate my understanding:

This line from “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is an example of Keats arguing that the power of thought, the imagination and anticipation is often greater than the act itself. Music and “melodies” that are imagined and anticipated are always in tune. They are played perfectly. A melody composed in the mind, cannot possibly be played badly or incorrectly. There is no possibility of error or an imperfect note. Therefore, Keats believes that imagining something brings more fulfillment and contentment than a “real” version ever could. He thinks that anticipation and expectation often outweighs the copy in the real world and that something real can only be disappointing compared to the imaginary.

I re-read the interpretation again, paused, shut down my Kindle, and fell asleep noodling the unheard.

So, back to this morning.

I walk.

…the imagination and anticipation is often greater than the act…they are played perfectly…therefore, Keats believes that imagining something brings more fulfillment and contentment that a “real” version ever could..

To my right, there’s a Great Blue Heron.  His long legs, and webbed feet slide across the ever-so-green algae.

To my left, there’s an Egret, ever-so-white as fresh snow.  Her feet in ankle-deep, cyan (?) tinted water, pausing from fishing for a moment. Go head DK, here’s my good side. I’ll wait for you to get your focus just right.

My imagination bringing more fulfillment and contentment than this?

Sorry.

That’s bullsh*t.


Notes:

  • Photos: DK @ Daybreak. 5:24 a.m. July 30, 2022. 74° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. More photos from this morning here  (birds), and here (landscape)
  • Meursault (John Keats Forum, April 16, 2009)

Lightly Child, Lightly

The classical elements are earth, water, air and fire, and this old idea feels right at a sensory level. I start to think that a combination of two is primal and powerful: rain on soil, fire in the wind, sunlight on stone. A combination of three is poetry: the sea washing the moonlight into the cliff, a rainbow.

— Amy Liptrot, The Instant (Canongate Books, March 3, 2022)


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak. ~5:00 am, June 12, 2022. 60° F. Cove Island Park, Stamford, CT. Other pictures from Sunday morning here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Lightly Child, Lightly

I dream through a wordless, familiar place.
The small boat of the day sails into morning,
past the postman with his modest haul, the full trees
which sound like the sea, leaving my hands free
to remember. Moments of grace. Like this.

Carol Ann Duffy, from Moments of Grace in “Mean Time” (Pan Macmillan; January 1, 2018)


Notes:

  • Photo: DK @ Daybreak.  Cove Island Park. June, 4, 2022. 5:34 a.m.
  • Poem: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels)
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Walking. With My Oystercatcher.

She was alone. Some form of birdsong, but at a high (very) pitch.  It’s the long beak that caught my attention. What is it? No clue.

It’s tough to get close in the mucky, low tide. Tough to focus in pre-twilight. I take the half-a**ed shot from way back, wary that if I get another 5 yards closer, she’s gone.

I approach.

Today, 757 consecutive (almost) days on my morning walk at Cove Island Park. Like in a row. And I’m clopping in angle deep mud, hoping that I don’t sink to my knees. Don’t you dare bolt on me.

S: “So when did you become a Birder?” That was Wednesday, several days ago —  and it’s like cupping your hands to your mouth and yelling: So when did you become a Birder?…Birder…Birder…Birder….Birder…on repeat, the echoing Upstairs.

What she didn’t say, but it was back there: “So how long is this NEW obsession going to last.”  After 38 odd years, you sort of have each other figured out. 10 years ago, I would counterpunched: “Be nice if you found any sort of obsession to lock onto.” Instead, I smile, all grown up now. It’s really a strange feeling, this controlling yourself thing.  Destabilizing, really, this letting things go. Come on. Not really letting go. Just setting it in short term parking, and waiting, when the pressure is unbearable, and then release. And carnage. [Read more…]

Lightly Child, Lightly


Notes:

  • Video: DK, Cove Island Park, May 25, 2022 @ Twilight. 5:03 am.  More photos from yesterday morning here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Tuesday Morning Meditation


My first attempt @ video. Far from awesome, but that won’t distract from the beauty of these Atlantic Brants. I’m smitten.  Cove Island Park @ Daybreak on Sunday.

Walking. Sunday Morning. DK Saves.

Let’s just get to the punch line of this story. (Oh, btw, it’s 724 consecutive (almost) days on my Daybreak walk at Cove Island Park. Like in a Row.)

There it lay.  At the end of my walk. An Atlantic Horseshoe Crab. Flat on its back. Nothing delicate or beautiful about this alien-looking thing. I’m sure its Mother loved it.

Its Telson was slapping back and forth. (Telson = Tail.  And of course I didn’t know that it was called a Telson. Googled it.) Creature was caught way up on the beach, tide shot out, and here we are. In Deep Shit. And you thought you were having a bad day?

I’m staring at the Telson (and yes, I’m going to keep repeating Telson like some career Marine Biologist)…and I’m wondering if its Telson carries electrical current. Or like a skunk, backs up its ass and spews sulfuric sh*t all over my camera gear.  Or like a Cephalopod, shoots ink all over me, seeping into my skin, and poisons me.

Stamford Daily reports: “Idiot found dead on Cove Island Beach trying to save Horseshoe Crab. Good News though, his death wasn’t for naught. It was notable that he was found flat on his back, like the Horseshoe Crab he was trying to save – – his mouth wide open, teeth blackened with Cephalopod ink, with his arms straight up in the air, because no matter what, the camera gear needed to remain undamaged.

Per NatGeo, Horseshoe Crabs have been around for 450 million years. And here I am, Human, around an eye twitch of that time, trying to assess the probability of being electrocuted or poisoned.  I could have pulled out my smartphone and Googled it to be sure…but this gives you a full measure of this man…not a lot of depth, prefers to let the mystery of life and its currents drag him along to the finish. And ‘hopefully’ that Finish isn’t this morning.

So, there I am. Staring down on Horsey.  His limbs and Telson desperately seeking salvation. [Read more…]

Crisis? Go Watch the Rain for 10 minutes.

It rained one morning this week. I moved back to Texas last year, in part for the rainstorms. Here, it rains decisively, gloriously, like it really means it. It explodes, pounds, roars, thunders and then, suddenly, moves on. I stepped on my back porch, not wanting to miss the show.

I sat, silent, smelling that indescribable rain scent and stretching out my hands, palms open in supplication, the same position I use in church to receive communion. The physicality of the experience, the sensual joy of sounds, smells, touch and sight, was profoundly humanizing. In a very real way, I am made for that. I am made to notice the rain. I’m made to love it.

But digitization is changing our relationship with materiality — both the world of nature and of human relationships. We are trained through technology (and technology corporations) to spend more time on screens and less time noticing and interacting with this touchable, smellable, feelable world. Social media in particular trains us to notice that which is large, loud, urgent, trending and distant, and to therefore miss the small, quiet importance of our proximate and limited, embodied lives…

Both Richtel’s article and another article released the same week by The Times highlight the emerging trend of people having romantic relationships with fictional characters, rather than human beings. There is evidence that teenagers are consuming more pornography, even as fewer are having sex. In a piece for The Atlantic, Derek Thompson highlights the growing concern that screen habits are displacing beneficial experiences for kids, noting that compared with the early 2000s, teenagers are less likely to “go out with their friends, get their driver’s license or play youth sports.” They are also less likely to get enough sleep.

“Children today spend less time outdoors than any other generation,” the National Recreation and Park Association reports, “devoting only four to seven minutes to unstructured outdoor play per day while spending an average of seven and a half hours in front of electronic media.” I realized recently that I can identify more apps by sight than species of trees.

We are made to enjoy the physical presence of other human beings. We are made to enjoy rainstorms or sunshine or walks in the woods. We are made to enjoy touchable things. We cannot escape or overcome this need through technology. Our attempts to do so go against the grain of our deepest human needs and longings…

In the same way, I think we are finding that there is something essential and mysterious — dare I say, holy — about human beings interacting in person and with the natural world that simply cannot be replicated in virtual reality.

So what do we do? In his book “Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing,” Andy Crouch writes, “Perhaps the two best beginning moves, for those of us swaddled in affluence and intoxicated by our technology, are into the natural world — the world of stars, snow and rain, trees and deserts — and into the relational world — the world of real bodies and heartbeats, hands and faces.”

Just as people have worked to revive slow, unprocessed and traditional food, we need to fight for the tangible world, for enduring ways of interacting with others, for holism. We need to reconnect with material things: nature, soil, our bodies and other people in real life. This doesn’t necessarily have to be big and dramatic. We don’t have to hurl our computers into the sea en masse.

But we do have to intentionally resist the siren song of digitization, which by and large promises far more than it can deliver. We have to be cautious and wise about introducing devices into our lives that fundamentally change how humans have interacted since time immemorial. We have to plunge ourselves primarily into the natural world and embodied human relationships, with all the complexity, challenges, inconvenience and pain that entails.

Go watch the rain for 10 minutes. Go on a walk with a friend. Get off social media and meet one neighbor. Keep your kids offline. Put your hands in the dirt. Play an instrument instead of a video game. Turn off your smartphone and have dinner with people around a table. Search for beauty and goodness in the material world, and there, find joy. The way back to ourselves, as individuals and a society, runs through old, earthy things.

Tish Harrison Warren, from “We’re in a Loneliness Crisis: Another Reason to Get Off Our Phones” (NY Times, May 1, 2022). Warren is an Anglican priest reflects on matters of faith in private life and public discourse.


Photo: Ahmed Nishaath of Manipal Lake, Udpi, India via Unsplash.

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