Posts Tagged ‘life’

High above the clouds, on my way from 75 F to 7 (or lower), I’m disconnected. Although this is one of the (pay) Wi-Fi flights, I have as usual resorted to a book on Kindle or pen and paper. Besides a dramatic change in temperature, on returning home I’ll experience a dramatic change in internet access as well.

At home, I have internet available constantly and, with my first smart phone, I can be online as much as I like…or as I can stand. (I can’t imagine wanting to read off my phone’s tiny screen and the small “keys” and tri-keyboard make typing onerous for one who excelled in typing.) But on a visit to Arizona, I return, if not to the Stone Age, to at least a quantum leap from an all-day-online-if-I-like world.

My parents not only don’t have internet, they don’t have or use a computer. Neither do they—are you sitting down?—use the ATM or have a smart phone and they favor paying in cash rather than with a credit card. You know what? They get along fine, although Dad has discovered the advantages of a daughter with internet access. Be that as it may, that sort of life is going to get more difficult as things convert to digital.

At home, the siren call of the internet tempts me to take “just one quick look at my (or someone else’s) blog”, “take a peek at Facebook” or send “just one email.” Minutes can morph unnoticed into half an hour or more while the things I really need or want to do go begging for attention.  But while visiting my parents, I have to go to the library or a Starbucks to go online for anything larger than what I want to do on my cell phone. I find myself anxious to get done and get back to relaxing, reading, going to art galleries, seeing the desert, lying in the sun or visiting. I start slipping more easily out of the online world than in, although I go through emails on my phone and delete whenever possible, leaving the ones I want to read or save. I love being able to easily connect with friends, but I find real life taking over more and more.

That’s a good thing.

That’s a break we all need now and then and are less and less likely to get or take. Because these days, you have to take that time back, get off the internet in whatever form, leave your phone behind once in awhile and certainly don’t look at it all the time even when you take it with you.

Talk with someone while in a line.
Look at your spouse when you talk to him or her, rather than at the tiny screen on your phone.
Watch a movie or TV together without being on another device; sit together on the couch.
Go for a walk.
Work a crossword puzzle or do a Sudoku.
Play a game NOT on a device.

There can be real life going on all around you. Disconnect and get back to it.

Just step away from the devices!

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This week’s photo challenge theme is “Window.” Among my many choices is a set of four shots that I took from the window of Bar Louie one day when my sister-in-law and I were enjoying happy hour. These four photos are truly a poignant, wordless story.

I’m on vacation in Arizona for a few weeks visiting my parents and with internet access for only an hour or so each day, so forgive me if I don’t get to your photo this week. I’ll miss seeing all the entries, but family time is more precious. Thanks for your visits and understanding!

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Outside our window are a number of bushes.  The cold winds of fall-turning-to-winter have stripped all but one of them of their leaves.  That one, lone bush, a meeting place for birds, still stands fully-leafed, taller than the other bushes.  As I glanced at the bushes this morning, the wind whining around the house, I realized those bushes are the perfect metaphor for the way we choose to react to circumstances in our lives.  Some of us lose our leaves, while others stay green and useful. (more…)

Life is making every route scenic. 

~Caribou Coffee

What can you do to make your life, and the lives of others, scenic?

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In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

~George Orwell

When do you dream?

The Philadelphia traffic finally behind, I head west on a modern-day wagon trail.  The forests are dressed in a variety of tawny colors, a few daring souls flaunting scarlet or gold.  I imagine the pioneers making their ways along narrow paths with nothing but trees in all directions, perhaps some farms here and there, the dirt hard-won in battle with the rocks that in defeat form the stone fences.  Through the magic of the modern, I insert another disc and fall back into the world of the Indians that consumed me on my outward trip.  “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” batters my soul with familiar names and stories, tales of deceit and murder and promises broken and re-broken, of people hunted to their deaths, women and children slaughtered.  Two life styles and value systems on a collision course that doesn’t end well, that highlights greed and a conspicuous lack of honor, themes that echo yet today.  One of the men who tries to help is related to an online friend.  When I hear his name, I scribble it down on the pad I always have for notes and ideas so that I remember to mention it to her.  I wish I knew more about him and those few who dealt in good faith and honor.

Where do you dream?

Thirteen long hours to be filled with…what?  I drive, seeing, alert for traffic and possible situations, yet at the same time traveling through the late 1800’s mostly in the western half of the United States, knowing how it will end yet compelled to keep going.  By the time I surface, I’m back in Indiana, darkness falling literally as well as metaphorically.  Above, in the dark clouds and night ahead, there’s a slender riff, through which a bit of yellow gold shines dimly.  I feel as though I’ve been in two places at one time, emotionally wrung out, as if I’d been, if not a participant, at very least an observer.  I’ve fallen through that slit into another dimension.  Now I need to find how to return.  I need another dream; less nightmare, more joyful.

What fuels your dreams?

A short space of no emotion.  I need something soul-restoring.  I reach for “In Tuscany”, the not-exactly-a-sequel to “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Bella Tuscany.”  The rift now opens to that mixture of old and new that is Italy.  Stories of olive-picking, of choosing cheeses and wines, of shared, hours-long dinners with friends, of restored homes and restored lives, of laughter and love and family.  Dreams of someone else that call me back.  Heal me. Pull me through the darkness towards home.  Make me want to find my own dreams once again.

Arriving tired, somewhat disoriented from my awake-dreaming, happy from time spent with a daughter and from being home with my husband, I fall in bed after eating and awaken to dreary, sullen skies and pouring rain, to bills and laundry and applesauce-making.

Time for new dreams for a new day.

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Patience is something that has taken me many years to develop and it’s still sometimes a work in progress.  I think that patience will be harder and harder to learn in an era where results and information are expected instantly.  You don’t even have to wait for letters anymore;  you can email or Skype.  Recently, I came across this quote which contains some valuable thoughts and advice for the practice of patience.

Traditionally, a journey was a rhythm of three forces: time, self and space.  Now the digital virus has truncated time and space.  Marooned on each instant, we have forfeited the practice of patience. . .The self has become anxious for what the next instant might bring.  The greed for destination obliterates the journey.

But a great journey needs plenty of time.  It should not be rushed; if it is, your life becomes a kind of abstract package tour devoid of beauty and meaning.  There is such a constant whirr of movement that you never know where you are.  You have no time to give yourself to the present experience.  When you accumulate experiences at such a tempo, everything becomes thin.  Consequently, you become ever more absent from your life and this fosters emptiness that haunts the heart.

When you take the time to travel with reverence, a richer life unfolds before you.  Moments of beauty begin to brand your days.  When your mind becomes more acquainted with reverence, the light, grace and elegance of beauty find you more frequently.

John O’Donohue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace

(Thanks to The Writing Sisters for this quote from their blog post:  http://writingsistersblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/draw-near-to-god-day-three/.  Check out their blog for inspiring thoughts about writing.)

Some good things just take time to develop, such as this redwood that fell in 1930 in Muir Woods.

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There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk.  That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.

I like to listen.  I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.  Most people never listen.

The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.

When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters.  A character is a caricature.

~Ernest Hemingway

The journey

Posted: September 7, 2013 in Family, Personal, Photos
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After 28 years in our first house, we’ve moved into a smaller rental house several states away. The next stage of the journey begins.

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After several days of helping a friend collect her part of the physical detritus of a shared life prior to moving into a life on her own, I’m also emotionally drained, as both the people are our friends.  I don’t say “were our friends” because singly they remain our friends even though now detached into two separate names rather than two names joined by the small word “and.” (more…)