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Navigating Our Own Flight

Posted in: Blog by admin on September 23, 2010

Posted on September 15, 2010 by amykite3

I woke up at 5 a.m. today with thoughts swirling around my head and the energy to express them.  It’s funny how some mornings our bodies beg to be warmly covered while on others, we are eager to get up and do something, even at oddly early hours!  So, on this morning, I was ready to write, and I immediately grabbed my laptop to do so.  And there was that increasingly frustrating message: “You are not connected to the internet.”  Okay.  Try again. Still not working. Time for network diagnostics.  Still no connection.  Too early to get frustrated.  Instead, I grabbed my iPhone and decided to play a little Scrabble while my computer was restarting.  Now my Scrabble moves wouldn’t go through.  There was that circle, spinning round and round and round as my move was “sending.”  I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve watched that swirling circle in the past few days.  On my computer.  On my iPhone.  On my laptop.  It swirls and swirls, and I wait and I wait.

And, I am incapable of getting done that which I set out to do.  Because of technology. Because of our habits.  Because we have become accustomed to instant access.  Because we are addicted to our electronics.

I always kept journals, and I remember many mornings such as this … I would wake up early and find myself in a philosophical mood, or a poem would be forming in my head, or some lyrics would be waiting to be scribbled down on paper.  And, I never missed an opportunity to creatively express myself.  There were journals scattered around my room, notebook paper strewn about, and eventually sticky notes arrived on the scene, as well.  What an ‘advancement” that little creation was in the world of paper!

The point is: I never got distracted or frustrated by a computer.  I was always able to get my words down on paper.  But, now, that has all changed.  If my computer won’t turn on or if my internet connection is down, then I can’t easily share my thoughts.  (Worse yet, I have gotten frustrated to the point of tears, I’m embarrassed to admit, but I am certain I am in the company of many with that admittance of truth!)  And, if my iPhone is not working, than my Scrabble opponents and I cannot enjoy our matches.  And I could be missing phone calls and text messages.  Oh dear.

It is, of course, different for everyone.  For some, they may not be able to look up the markets and make their trades.  Others may not be able to access legal cases and do necessary research.  The loss and level of frustration is something that each of us can relate to if we are unfortunate enough to have a non-working computer or phone.  The loss of time and productivity is different … the level of frustration is different … the void is different.  But, our dependence is all the same.

Sounds dramatic to use words such as “dependance” and “void,” but just think of the feeling you experience when you realize you have left your phone somewhere.  Think about the aggravation you experience when you can’t get your computer to work.  We feel defeated and lost.  We are not only addicted.  We are losing many of our capabilities.  We are losing our ability to express ourselves on a piece of paper.  We are losing our resourcefulness as we seem unable to find another way to get things done.  We are burying our instinct to sit and breathe and think first.

When I was growing up, I always had a fascination with words. I love the looks of words, the sounds, the definitions and meanings, the compilation of them, the endless way in which they can be formed, changed, arranged and used.  I believe this passion for words came in part from my Mama Flo’s insistence that I always look up words in the “unabridged dictionary.”  She was a walking, living, breathing dictionary.  I’ve never met another with a more extensive and beautiful knowledge of the English language.  She truly loved words. And, she had an enormous  dictionary that was full of highlighted entries.  She was proud when I flipped through the pages of the massive book in disbelief over all of the words that she had discovered and used.  She wanted to instill that love and curiosity in me.  When I would call her asking her what a word meant, she would always direct me to the unabridged first, telling me that if I didn’t find it there, then I could call back and she would tell me the definition.

The process was the learning.

How do we learn now?  We go to Google.  We don’t even wait to see what thoughts we could conjure up on our own.  Just click.  Click.  Click.  Here it is.  We have skipped that important step wherein we think and creatively find sources to discover.  We no longer need to process things the same way, to remember definitions, to highlight the words, to inscribe what we have discovered in our minds.  Why do that when we can just quickly “click” again next time.

People say they don’t even memorize phone numbers anymore.  They are completely reliant on their contact lists in their phones.  We no longer train ourselves to remember much of anything.  Even dates and times.  We have alarms on our phones reminding us to go to an appointment.  We have our computers to alert us when it is our best friend’s birthday.

I love being organized, and I am very grateful that our electronics help us to be so.  And, I value technology and advancements.  I appreciate the ease with which we can access information.  I am indebted to the availability of words and definitions and information that is out there floating through our networks.

But, I have forgotten how to use the pen.  I have lazily looked something up on Google before sitting with the puzzle and seeing if my own mind could solve it.  What was that city outside of Aspen called that was a ghost town?  Google.  ”Just eight miles away, the larger silver mining city of Ashcroft, Colorado, became a ghost town.” Aha!  Ashcroft!  That was it.  It was there in my mind, but I didn’t need to take the minute to uncover it.  I fell into the large, protecting, open, comforting arms of my search engine.

Mama Flo would be so disappointed.  She certainly would have evolved and accepted the many wonderful benefits of our rapidly improving technologies.  But, she would have still had her massive unabridged dictionary beside her at all times.  Nothing would stop her from learning.  Nothing would stop her from writing.  Nothing would stop her from retaining the information in her beautifully curious mind.

My thoughts were frozen for 20 minutes this morning while I stumbled through my home’s quiet darkness to go to the basement to fiddle with my internet connection.  As a matter of fact, what I initially intended to write about (a dead bird that was on my driveway yesterday morning … a live bird that stood 10 feet from it like a statue, standing vigil, unable to move for half an hour … the concept of loss and letting go … the sorrow that all of us beings experience … the sadness in my daughters’ eyes as they looked from the dead bird to the bird on guard … the final act of flying away …) — all of that is now lost in my mind’s space because cyberspace sent me in a different direction. Cyberspace got me thinking about technology this morning. It had the power to re-direct my thoughts.  It had the power to make me sit down and write about this.

The power is obvious and yet subtle at the same time.  But, now I am reminded to take the time to look up words.  To keep a journal by my bed.  To remain strong and focused.  To care about retaining information.  To think about the fallen bird and its mourning friend.  T0 wonder about the birds’ flight.  To think about own own flight.

As we fly through the internet and all of the wonderful information at our fingertips, let’s pause.  Let’s hold on to the beauty of words, to the colors of our own memories, to the power within our own minds.  Let’s cling with passion and awareness and consciousness to the control of our own soaring flights.

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2 Responses to “Navigating Our Own Flight”

  1. Maybe the most amazing read I read today!?!

    -Thank You,

  2. Amy says:

    Thank you for your support!

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