Too many cords threaten to strangle the life right out of me. Cords for laptops. Cords for smart phones. Cords for Ipods. Cords for gaming systems and flat-screen TVs and all sorts of kitchen appliances invented for making life faster and easier.
We are able to pack more into our days like never before because we’ve got more and more cords to charge more and more devices to take with us everywhere and anywhere so we never have to be unplugged for anything or anyone and we never have to actually listen to silence anymore—or birds chirping—or horses neighing—or a breeze blowing—or a dog barking—or a cicada buzzing. I can’t BREATHE! I’m a squished sardine in a can, all claustrophobic, with all the stuff we’ve packed into our lives.
People text while driving. We know full-well it’s illegal and highly dangerous. No matter, right? We have so much to do and too little time. So we cut corners where ever we can and kill ourselves in the process?
It doesn’t take a highway to kill ourselves. We can do that quite well on a farm. We can live separately, plugged in, deaf to any sound but that pouring out of earbuds, sitting like zombies in front of hand-held, table-top, and wall-mounted screens.
My insides scream, “SILENCE!”
My heart cries, “CONNECTION!”
My senses crave something—anything not man-made.
Give me an outside to save my inside.
So instead of shutting down, we shut off the other day. Instead of listening to music and watching whatever just to avoid our own thoughts, we went out the door into the wild, completely unplugged.
We walked trails and spotted scat left behind by coyotes and fox. We wondered aloud if even a wolf had trotted along these trails. I saw one two years back, standing on the mound of earth right outside our back wall of windows, staring me in the eyes. Coyotes, fox, wolves—all in our backyard! And scat. The wonder of scat. Some had fur in it. We guessed what creature had nurtured life with its life.
Further on, we spotted a red-tailed hawk perched on a limb and a seagull flying west from the lake.
Some small bird had tucked its nest into a dogwood last spring.
Our yellow Labrador retriever leapt through tawny brush, hoping to flush up a pheasant or a resting doe.
We felt the breeze in our hair and the sun on our skin. The smell of the air promised spring.
A stop by the pond proved that thawing always follows harsh winters. I said that out loud. Would they ponder?
Spring peeper frogs will soon be singing, celebrating new life.
I threaded my arm through our oldest son’s. We walked that way for awhile and he let me.
Coming up the northern trail, horses celebrated spring coming too. Winter coats shedding, we saw them rolling, giving themselves a good scratch on the back, covering themselves in dirt, then shaking it off. Oh, how our souls need a good scratching and shaking and shedding!
We need to come to the quiet more often, I think. We need to unplug and connect with each other, slowly and deeply, relishing wonder together. We need to realize our quality of life depends not so much on how much we pack in but on how much we make room.
Unplug and connect.
Take in the wonder of one another, in person. Soak up the nurture of nature. Find our true selves in the slowing, the connecting, the noticing. We are not machines. We are human beings, made in the image of God.