In a little cabin in the woods the loudest sound echoed down the stream valley. Three boys filled with the freedom of exploration and unaware of how far their voices carry, adapted to organic matter as entertainment in a matter of minutes. They had no other choice; this was a world unplugged. These were the longest sun-filled, fresh air days in recent memory and the perfect anecdote for our electronic lives we left behind.
But this little lesson in disconnect was good for the mother’s soul as well. I had no idea how badly I needed to be unplugged. No cell signal, no Facebook, no Pinning, no Netflix or the mindless data stream constantly uploading right to my brain. Nothing to distract me from my own thoughts and living life in the moment. And I didn’t miss it for a second because it wasn’t right there staring me in the face. In fact at the end of the fourth day we were nearly convinced to extend our trip and extend the moratorium on a signal free existence.
But we packed up and headed home and sure enough as soon as our fancy phones received half a bar of reception, we were plugged in once again. I know it’s who we are, or who we have become as a society. I accept the fact that my social skills have been dwindled down to status updates and text messages. I know that if the boys have a choice between xBox and kicking a ball around outside, they will usually choose the former unless restriction have been put in place. And I am fully aware that I have to leave and go to the woods if I want restrictions put in place for myself. But, unfortunately, I see my life’s hours ticking away in the form of virtual data and useless dribble.
I look forward to returning to the cabin one day soon. I have mind to make a regular retreat and to continue the connection with the great outdoors.
To send boys off to explore and get dirty without interference:
To teach a boy to fish…and watch him sit quietly for hours:
To allow dangerous pastimes:
To tackle a mountain of sand? Yes, a mountain of sand:
To cross the river banks on a fallen tree:
To watch a grown man play with food and fire for a good portion of the day:
To listen to the quietness of trees and feel the stillness of the earth:
But until we can find time to fit this in our schedule once again, I will use these memories as a starting point to voluntarily make the choice to unplug.
This is the best week ever because I have been given so many ways to connect in our electronic age and the mind to know when to turn it all off. I can go one more week without a status update, one more week without checking my e-mail twenty times in one day, and one more week without surfing the world wide web mindlessly for pretty pictures instead of making them myself.
So, my dear readers, how will you turn it off for a few hours or a few days and go out and connect with the world? How is this going to be your best week ever?