“Can’t you even put away your phone long enough to take a walk?” Those weren’t the exact words but it was something to that effect. Because of unusual circumstances at this stage of life, I am alone a lot. Much of my connection to the outside world is via internet, TV, and my cell phone – upon which, I admit, I’ve become far too dependent – to check email and Facebook connections.
This became far too apparent when I went out on the trail this afternoon. I made my way through the trees skirting the canyon and came out on the paved walking trail. Immediately, my first instinct was to log on and check FB and email. That’s when the admonition sounded clearly in my thoughts. Seriously?! Can’t you put it away even for a walk?
I immediately shut off my cell and forced it into my too-small back jeans pocket.
I looked up. And out. And listened.
It is late afternoon. The marshland thrives with life. A Mallard drake and his hen leave gentle ripples as they lazily glide along the pond. Frogs – by the hundreds, thousands? – signal their presence. The familiar trill of Redwing Blackbirds remind me of a rusty well pump handle squawking in protest. I feel frustration because I can’t identify many of the multitude of other birds songs calling across the canyon.
To the right of my path, a cotton-tail freezes, hoping I won’t notice it, while on the other side and a little ahead another bunny high tails it into a thicket.
I walk on. Scurried motion in shrubbery on both sides of the path reveal the presence of other creatures rushing for their camouflaged cover. It works. I know they’re there but I can’t see them.
In the distance at water’s edge, I see more movement and wish I’d brought binoculars to identify either the wild turkey or pheasant taking a drink.
I walk on. The path curves and I make a mental note to keep my mouth shut as I forge through the local swarm of gnats.
Ahead is one of my favorite landmarks – the gnarled tree with weathered strips of wood nailed to its trunk – once a ladder to the primitively constructed deer stand in its overhanging branches…
I reach in my back pocket and wrestle out my iPhone, no longer interested in logging onto anything. I simply want to capture – document – savor – this walk. This balm to my soul.