cloud ship

cloud ship
a raft of sun tipped clouds sailed by

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


It took me decades to realize that staying still, being quiet , reflective, went against the grain of the now ubiquitous 24/7 ethos demanding constant motion, endless lists of things to do, a ramped up schedule without any free time to lay about.
I clearly remember hearing in middle school that technological advances would surely lead to more leisure time; that the forty hour work week would ebb to half that so we could wander off to sip freely from the cup of rest and recreation.  
So much for that prediction, since every new device seems to only hypnotize us further into loops of constant contact of the digital kind that take us away from actual face time with one another. Cell phones, to me, are one of the biggest scams ever perpetrated on the human race. They often do not ring or work at all. They are easy to break, suffer battery burn out. The minutes restrictions make them beyond ridiculous. No one answers their fucking phone! Everyone has mobile devices but there is less direct communication. One of my least fave experiences is calling someone at a phone number only to hear a message that the caller should reach them at another number, and of course, they won't pick up their phone at this second point of contact either!

All these products do is engender more rounds of messages. A land line always works, doesn’t break nearly as often and you pay a flat fee. But, OMG, if we can’t babble into a device while driving or shopping or walking, we might perish.
Likewise, Twitter is a form of mass hysteria. Like the Borg on Star Trek, we are plugged into a “living network,” in truth a massive mother board maintained by Big Brother, that all-seeing eye and scorekeeper our best writers characterized as a government bully. True, our messages and thoughts and shopping patterns are now in the public domain, but the government didn’t do this to us. We invited all the “convenience” of these instantaneous gratification devices into our lives without hesitation and now we are relentlessly bombarded with adverts. Every time I pull up my emails, there are ads for the shopping sites I visited three days earlier. That is definitely creepy.
We chit chat like gaggles of hyper teenage girls. We hunch over computers, stab at minute keyboards, habitually connect.
My partner recently went to a remote cabin in nowhere Maine, with his friend and his friend’s son. These guests brought their devices, received several phone calls and twittered.  No bubble of solitude, the natural world muted as mere background noise. Even on vacation, we come armed with electronica.
All of this is to say, it’s harder to remove oneself to a less frenetic zone. To feel comfortable in one’s own skin, to stop moving and scheduling long enough to recharge. To lie fallow as a means to invite inspiration, rejuvenation, just as we let plots of garden lie fallow to give the soil a reprieve, to let it come back strong.
It’s quite hard to put down the devices, to turn off the set and the music long enough to simply think and return to some old-fashioned daydreaming, to read, to take a walk. To me, it’s a luxurious lifestyle to be less connected. It makes me take notice of my surroundings, my neighbors, engenders trips to the farmers markets, longer walks and even a few new ideas. Imagine that.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Midsummer Days

In the extremes of weather, we always pine for the other side. In blizzard conditions, we yearn for hot sunshine; in heat waves, we crave Canadian cold fronts.
That is why, for me, the transitional months of the year are best -- April and May, October and November. Temps between 60 and 80 sheer perfection.
Drought has claimed huge swaths of lawn, much of our flower garden has toppled over. The veg garden has survived through regular watering, but in August not much looks fresh.
The smooth, foot carressing lawn is now an uncomfortable stubble on the bare foot. The dragon's blood, a leafy burgundy bush topped with small yellow flowers, which once stood in a huge copse five feet tall, is now a broken bit of biomass dead center in our main garden. The lilles have all passed, leaving dry stalks behind.
These are certainly dog days...which is an insult, really, to our fine canine friends. An insult to their innate loyal characters. Dog days refers to the Dog Star, which follows the constellation Orion through the night sky. In August, this Dog Star (there are really two dog stars following the legendary hunter, as it chases Taurus the Bull) are quite prevalent.
I have mentally banished the dog stars and have set my mind forward to the cool winds of late September, the golden blush of leaves, the first frost. I am of Nordic blood, perhaps even part albino. I must remember to move to Canada!