Friday, February 24, 2012

joining the 21st century at the edge of the ocean

how is this photograph different from all the other pictures that have appeared in all my blog-posts over the past half-decade?

i 'took it' rather than finding it on the internet.

and, it was 'taken' on the beach at port townsend, just a few feet from the cold waters of the beginnings of puget sound. it marks a sort of double turning-point in my life.

since moving to the olympic peninsula from the ozarks, where i had thought i would be buried and resurrected, i have bought several electronic 'devices' as they tend to be called: a laptop computer, a copier/printer/scanner, a kindlefire tablet, and a 'smart phone'. now, these are not of course unusual things for someone living in the u..s.a. to have these days, but they seem odd to me, since i have spent half of the past decade without electricity, using the hardware at the public library, and proudly holding up my black papermate flair pen as my 'wireless device.' i confess the price of flairs has gone up until they are nearly as expensive as 4-g connexion, and they are harder to find.

and i confess i have found all these new-fangled contraptions mighty convenient. for years i have read on sunday afternoons a chapter from bernard of claivaux sermons on the song of songs,* but the four volumes of that set were part of the more than 3,000 books i gave away when i left the ozarks. for the past several months i have read st. bernard on the already-seemingly-trusty laptop, and now i can read him even down along the creek on the telephone. so i'm spinning all these new gadgets as a sort of un-cluttering of my life. i really could live in a tent now, although i would want an extension cord. (alright: i confess. i do still have 'real' books, but not nearly so many of them, so i could keep them in a nice dry box.)

i'm also trying to understand the change to non-print media as no worse a thing than the change to written media and then to print media. of course all of these things were huge changes, and our little brains seemed to have changed to adjust to them. i'm hoping my old brain isn't too calcified to make the change, and that i won't lose the ability to read real books. but i hope the change will help me to listen more easily to people with all sorts of brain patterns for using information.

the ocean: well, that's a bit more of a personal lark. i just missed the sound of it. i'm moving in a week to a little cabin in the woods (so i will have room for 3,000 books again, should i live so long), and it is only about long city blocks from the water. i can walk to town right along the waterfront. of course part of me wonders if i'm not just influenced by the romance of the old celtic saints who stood in the water and prayed the psalms, but i don't think that would be a bad practice even if i did adopt it for romantic reasons. i wonder, though: if i droped my samsung in the water, would an otter be able to retrieve it for me unharmed?