Saturday, May 19, 2012

The nature preserve - a world away



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.



And when the conversation fell silent we sought solace in our laptops or in searching feeds on our Blackberries.

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.













14 comments:

  1. Looks like a lovely place to escape to, David. Nature is where I turn too when I need to be rejuvenated.

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    1. 4 real Daisy - you can't beat an escape

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  2. That's such a beautiful park! I can't believe you said it was small and unremarkable,it even have a lake it seems to be huge. Here, that would be impossible, plazas are much more common and work better. After all the sun here destroys all the grass for most of the year, so the more common elements in a park are sand and rocks.

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    1. Ah yes I recall the Retiro, I think it was in Madrid - the grass was all scorched.

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  3. Very provocative post, David. I think that because nearly all of our business is operated virtually these days, hunched over electronics, typing codes and navigating through a labyrinth of internets that we barely understand, the moments that we do get to spend w/nature, that world away, ground level with the earth--a three dimensional sensory stunner--are ever so more meaningful.

    Wonderful photos. Looks mighty peaceful to me. :)

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    1. thanks so much Jayne - well it's good because although it's in an urban area it feels away from it all

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  4. Very pretty park! It looks so peaceful! BTW, back in 2009 I was so addicted to FB that I got kicked off for 17 days b/c I was TOO addicted to it. Their spambots said I commented too frequently and too quickly so they shut my account down to teach me a lesson.

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    1. Thi is funny JoJo - I mean I didn't think it was possible to get kicked off FB - would make a post in its own right

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  5. You make such a fantastic point about online personas and how awkward it can be to meet people in three dimensions who we've only met online. I think we've all experienced that before.

    Like you, I've found myself spending more and more time away from my computer and the interwebs. It's become absolutely essential to feeling balanced, connected and, well, good.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and walk through the park with us :)

    ~ Rhonda Parrish

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    1. thanks so much for visiting Rhonda - do come back

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  6. Great post David, I love how you've looked at a subject most of us can relate to and really personalised it while putting your point forward. I would never have imagined being so completely surrounded by technology at work and play 20 years ago and I do like to break away from it every now and then.

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    1. I know Abi - I usually don't think about it much. But it really started to do my head in on this particular day

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  7. This needs to be in a magazine.

    I do believe we develop perhaps a caricature of ourselves through the web...an extreme version of ourself on the internet, or perhaps a more reserved one. I feel like I'm more outgoing and nicer on the internet, but in person I'm just tired and more sarcastic. But then again, I have a friend who is hyper and outgoing in person, but as soon as he's on the internet, he seems very serious and uninteresting. It's weird.

    Have you ever met anyone from the internet in person?? I've met a couple bloggers in real life and I only clicked with one of them. It makes me wonder how people date online for long periods of time without meeting each other. It seems awkward to me, especially if there ends up being no spark...

    I don't know how I just got on the topic of online dating. It has nothing to do with your post. Sigh.

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    1. Your comments are oddly in tune with my thinking Jen. And the thing re being more tired and sarcastic in life is likely totally me sadly. Maybe my online persona is nicer but there's also the question if we spend too long on line to we lose our real selves. Gosh - I think I've only met one blogger, Happy Frog and she was fab.

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