I'm not sure I used to be a virtual person. Quite probably I used to be a real one. Now I'm not so sure.
Today I will be developing a new website for a client. And reading an article about forthcoming changes by Google and what they mean for SEO. From there I will be synthesizing and publishing a piece on my professional blog about what this means to the slaves. By this I mean all of us who are enslaved to Google, Facebook and Twitter as surely as the mill workers in the 18th and 19th centuries were slaves to Arkwright's spinning frame.
Part of me lives on on this blog but I'm not sure which part. What was euphemistically coined the World Wide Web back in the day has taken away much of our world.
It makes me wonder if we develop web personas; if we talk to people in a certain way in cyberspace and then struggle to relate when we meet them. Or maybe we struggle to relate period.
Last night I met some people from my former newspaper. We exchanged the inevitable jokes about rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic and about how one day it would be just another page in cyberspace, perhaps sooner than anyone cared to recall.
All of which makes me wonder how we lived when the world was lit only by fire. How we clung to each other with just the stars to light our way, how the night seemed immeasurably long and our lives run with the seasons.
In some deep place I had a romantic notion of the Middle Ages, picturing the Pilgrims winding their way to the shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham lit only by the Milky Way
Inevitably, my shallow perceptions defied reality,. Some time ago I wrote about Graham Manchester's book A World Lit Only by Fire in which he described a world of dangerous medieval villages where the locals would as soon butcher you and eat you as they would welcome you; of a world where nuns and monks spent most of the time copulating; of a world of short life spans and disease and filth, so at odds with the idea of knights and round tables and damsels in distress.
Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
Sir Walter Scott has much to answer for I fear. TS Eliot - less so.
Conscious of a loss of identity and just an indefinable sense of loss generally as I drifted past the lonely planets out there somewhere in hyperspace, I sought solace in nature.
Hoffler's Creek is only remarkable in its unremarkableness. It's a small urban park but it feels far away from the soul numbing strip malls. Yet it was a beautiful May morning of gusting breezes and bright sunshine. The pull of nature was too powerful to resist. I abandoned my laptop and headed for the road less traveled, a dirt track with the silent waters to my left and the teeming woods to my right.
Sunlight slanted in and out of the eaves and tall purple flowers danced by the silver water. The sun and wind put me in mind of a day in Ireland so many years ago, by the fast moving waters of a creek on a day when the clouds moved fast in their pools of sunlight, the boggy mountains basked in the rays and I spied a jolly azure boat lying bottom up by the water. The moment was no more remarkable than any other. But it lived with me somehow.
Gazing at the white herons over the marshes I was reminded how it is possible to find redemption in nature. We may feel lost but we only need to reach out and touch.