Once upon a time, there was a would-be minimalist and sometime adherent of Thoreau-by-way-of-Gautama-and-Fox, who told himself he would remember to stow away his cell phone as often as he could, as a way of helping him to be more present and in the moment.
And then he forgot.
Following on yesterday’s theme: it’s amazing how quickly familiarity can set in, and how easily I can stop attending to all that is still so very new all around me.
I caught myself walking across campus today, oblivious of my surroundings, trying to catch up on my email. I think of it as a kind of technology-induced sleepwalking.
So much for monotasking.
But I did catch myself. So I stuck my phone into my pocket and started to pay attention. And it was worth it.
Later today, after dinner, I hopped on my new bike (well, new for me–it’s actually a pretty old bike) and pedaled just a mile and a half up the Parkway to a west-facing overlook. The sun hadn’t quite dropped behind Grandfather Mountain, but it was getting there. I stopped for a moment, just to appreciate the beauty in front of me.
Then I hopped back on my bike, pedaled back home, and asked my daughter if she would like to see the prettiest sunset ever. She was in the middle of watching a DVD, but as I pointed out to her, she could pause her movie, but you can’t pause a sunset. She grabbed a light jacket and I made her a cup of chamomile tea in a travel mug.
We were back at the overlook just as the sky was painted red. A short walk from the pull-off brought us to a rocky outcrop. We sat down and watched the colors of the sky change and the outline of the mountains darken.
I would have posted a picture of that sunset, but I left my cellphone at home.
Good call, I say.