War of the Worlds ~ BitterSweetLife

Saturday, May 28, 2005

War of the Worlds

Yesterday afternoon Lindsay and I arrived home from a one-night camping trip, and the demands of civilization hit us like a load of Styrofoam. Piled-up email, a broken blog banner and a stack of packages waiting at the post office; they swarmed us like little technological gnats, and it took more than a second to swat them.

On the whole, I’m a fan of technology. One of my friends was convinced for awhile that big cities, and the technology thereof, were evil. Suburbanite that he was, I had a hard time taking him seriously, and the idea still seems laughable. However, there’s a lot to be said for the wilderness life.

Yesterday as we hiked over the crest of a wooded hill, Lindsay said something about how a forest ranger’s job wouldn’t be all bad. I don’t think I could handle the isolation of it, really, but the idea was interesting to play with. I juxtaposed our urban apartment—coffee shops, movies, the Saturday morning “city market”—with a hypothetical life as a ranger. A cabin, coffee over the camp fire, nature talks in the evenings, long drives to the nearest mom and pop grocer. Various things would have to give.

I tried to picture myself avidly clicking through websites during evenings at the cabin. Pounding out quick blog posts. Fixing up the site’s html tags. Man, it was hard to see it. Not that it wouldn’t be possible to lug a notebook pc into a national park—I just wasn’t sure I’d want to. After spending all day in sunshine and fresh air, would technology be the first thing on my mind in the evening?

In some senses, the world of blogging and the natural world seem diametrically opposed. If I lived in the “wilderness” for any period of time, would it be hard to care about All Consuming’s latest trick and whether the Lawrence Journal World had updated yet? Seems like it would. Not to the mention the petty nuances of culture news. New movies? New albums? New iPods? Who cares.

Hiking around in the woods yesterday, I got a sense of what it must feel like to come back to the U.S. after traveling abroad—say in Africa or India. The reverse culture-shock would make it hard to care about a lot of things. But no doubt there’s a happy medium, and if I ever get the chance to live near a frontier, I’ll find it.

“Let’s head into the canyon, people. And at the next mile marker we’ll pause for a quick blog post.”

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Tom Wilkinson said...

Reminds of a John Denver song "Christmas for Cowboys"
that Jars of Clay covered a while back (you can get
the single on iTunes)

Tall in the saddle we spend Christmas Day,
Drivin' the cattle on the snow-covered plains.
All of the good gifts given today;
Ours is the sky and the wide open range.

Back in the cities, they have diff'rent ways,
Football and eggnog and Christmas parades.
I'll take the blanket; I'll take the reins;
Christmas for cowboys and wide open plains.

A campfire for warmth as we stop for the night;
The stars overhead are the Christmas-tree lights,
The wind sings a hymn as we bow down to pray;
Christmas for cowboys and the wide open range.

It's tall in the saddle we spend Christmas Day,
Drivin' the cattle on the snow-covered plains.
So many gifts have been opened today;
Ours is the sky and the wide open range,
It's Christmas for cowboys and wide open plains

Ariel said...

A Jars cover, eh? I may have to check this out.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife