It didn’t last very long, about ten hours from when I woke up at 6 a.m to 4 p.m. I’m at a coffee shop now. Hopefully, service will resume tomorrow or Monday at the latest. I’ll try to plug in daily, but at a reduced level.
Those ten hours “without” left me stunned. This addiction to the global brain may be the strongest addiction I have ever experienced, and I’m an addictive personality, quite used to pondering strong habits that overwhelm the actual nature of the present moment. For years I’ve thought about the idea of unplugging for an entire day, like Sunday, say, or for the whole weekend. And haven’t ever had the nerve. Couldn’t do it on my own. The computers, iphone and ipad are siren songs, always there in the room, off or on, open or closed, calling to me, just like cigarettes used to call. They both fill the hole and never satisfy, keep me desperate, hungry for more.
This morning, once I got past the sheer unadulterated panic (and I mean that), I found myself delighting in the way time started to stretch out like taffy, and noticed my nervous system almost visibly relax, sigh, as I plopped my body into a comfortable chair and my otherwise hyperalert mind into a book. Not a book I would have read earlier. Nothing to comprehend new information or synthesize scattered threads into some kind of semblance of order. Rather, a leisurely meditation upon the artistic life of an 18th century collage artist, written by a poet. Each sinuous sentence astonishing in its evocation of times long ago and the interior of one woman’s mind who “found her calling” at age 72.
So what? How does reading this book advance anything? — says my current ego self caught up in the pellmell onrush of cascading events and commentaries as we head into the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Well, perhaps that’s the point. Stop, yes, and smell the roses, or in this case, take a close look at how she would cut out eentsy bitsy pieces of handmade paper of subtly varied hues to create a single rose petal on a black background.
Finally, I surfaced from that quite uncharacteristic immersion, walked outside to the garden to pick kale and chard to slice and dehydrate. (Gotta do something useful with my weirdly freed-up day!) Noticed how the lotus leaves on the pond are starting to rot, how the coolness of fall stops green tomatoes from turning red on the vine, how dry leaves on trees clatter in the breeze . . .
I called my son Colin to come over and fix the drain in my tub, so that I could take a long, leisurely bath. (I’m still recuperating from my recent, rare illness). He did, and picked up my new puppy Shadow to take with him to play with his girlfriend’s dog, Suki. While kneeling in front of the tub, he asked me if I wanted him to clean out the tub, too, and I almost cried with gratitude. YES! So blessed, to have such a son.
Then I called my folks in Seattle. Dad (a retired physician) had sent a photo to all of us of the X-Ray taken of the pinched nerve in his spinal column. Ouch! He’s 95, and his options are injections (which may or may not work to relieve the chronic nerve pain) or surgery. Surgery at 95! I make a mental note to be there with Mom, who’s sliding back into childhood, if he goes into the hospital again. It’s the least I can do, given that six of the eight of us sibs showed up in one way or another for the folks a few weeks ago, during Dad’s hospital stay for a plugged bile duct.
Then I lay down and watched “One True Thing,” about a family’s transforming dynamics during a mother’s dying process, with Meryl Streep, William Hurt, Renee Zellweger. Cried my eyes out. Geez, what are we but family? All of us, family? And without that damn internet, I was actually feeling my feelings.
So have we all morphed into one mind, like the generation spiraling up at Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End? If so, do we realize it? And what happens when the electricity switches off during the later stages of the Long Emergency already begun during this epic Transition from one age to another that we all signed up for when we came here and all knew, somewhere deep inside, that we needed to be truly present for when it arrived and threatened to overwhelm.
Can we keep the connectedness? So far, the connectedness is more mental than emotional or spiritual.
I have a hunch that by the time electricity does start to fail, we’ll be internally prepared .
Certainly, by the time Neptune completes its sojourn through Pisces (2012-2025), we’ll be surfing the ocean of Love.
That Teilhard de Chardin. He really knew what he was talking about! I remember being astonished by his “Phenomenon of Man” when I was nursing my first son, Sean, back in 1964. Now Sean’s 47 years old and I’m privileged to see/feel his wild prediction of the “noosphere” come true.
I came to the Bakehouse today expecting to post a few commentaries about 9/11. And look how the time has flown! Forget it! Time to unplug, wind my way home, run that hot bath.