The heat of last week was almost surreal, sixty-five and clear-skied, the exposed trunks of the leafless trees warming in the sun. Basking. As if they had a choice. Amazing how quickly the leaves fell this year. They came on late, then they were gone, like guests at a dinner party they didn’t really want to attend.
For a time I felt listless and out-of-sorts, thrown off-kilter by the atypical weather. I trudged from task-to-task, shucked down to a tee shirt, thought briefly of trading pants for shorts, but was too lazy to make the change. Now it is cooling again, and I feel the urgency of the season stirring my blood. It is good.
We reside for now in a single room above five cows and 1,000 bales of hay. When the wind blows, I hear the sliding doors of the barn thumping against the side of the building. We have no Internet, no landline, and a cell phone that works only from very particular locations outside our living quarters, so I make calls while leaning against the cows’ paddock fence. I check email every other day or so, sitting in my truck, parked in the parking lot of the nearest library, listening to the radio. Since I seem to be getting less email as I age, I’m thinking I can soon transition to once every third or fourth day and no one will be the wiser. I figure by the time I’m 50, I’ll be down to once a year.
I heard on the radio (while checking email, sitting in my truck, parked in the parking lot of the nearest library) that American teens now spend an average of nine hours each day on electronic devices. Since this does not include school, the true number is certainly a good bit higher. Nine hours a day, plus school… what can possibly remain? The captivity is now complete, and all the more effective for not being recognized as such.
Early this morning I went hunting with my son. We sat for a time on a mossed rock, watching the forest lighten around us.
PS: My friend Jesse just published a book of photographs, chronicling his adventures in the out-of-doors with his daughter, Clover. You can check it out here. Oh yeah: The book includes an essay I wrote.