When I was about four years old, there was a place in the woods behind our house that I thought was enchanted. It was a sandy little clearing in the trees studded with beautiful outcroppings of limestone. The rough, gray, stones were covered with furry green moss and lichen.
In retrospect, the most curious feature about that little landscape was the abundance of giant elephant ears growing there.
How I loved that little clearing! i used to go up there and sit by myself, perched on one of the protruding boulders, watching the trees, my face turned toward the sun, and listening to the sounds of the woods: the whisper of soft breeze, bird song and the chatter of squirrels.
That little clearing was not very far from the house but it felt like a different world, screened by the tall trees at the edge of the woods. I enjoyed being alone there and thought of it as my special, private place (though I was sure that I shared it with a tribe of unseen fairies.)
When I was eight, we moved to another house. Our new house was also near a woods. Those dense woods were the playground of all the children that lived on my street: Becky, Joanie, Billy, and me. We built forts, concocted 'soup' out of creek water and weeds, made mud pies, swung on grape vines and came down with lots of horrible cases of poison ivy.
Back then, the woods seemed like our natural habitat. We played there, rain or shine and only reluctantly went in the house.
Nowadays, I hardly ever see children playing outside and the natural world no longer seems to be their preferred habitat.
It was not the preferred habitat of my two sons. They and their friends were mad for all things electronic: game systems, videos, computers, and hand held devices.
Lately, I can't help but notice that everywhere I go, people are sitting or walking in public, oblivious to their surroundings, lost in the screen world of their smart phones, fixated on texting, facebooking, googling, tweeting, and gaming. Too frequently I am treated to the scintillating conversation of strangers:
("Where you at? I'm at Walmart. What are you doing?")
I'm beginning to wonder if we human beings have evolved into a race of cyborgs.
What is a cyborg? Here's the dictionary definition: ' a human being whose body has been taken over in whole or in part by electromechanical devices.
And truthfully, I wonder if I am not turning into a cyborg myself. After all, here I sit, typing on my lap top computer, my ipad next to me, writing a blog intended for publication on the internet, whilst I intermittently check my e-mail and facebook page.
But I DON'T have a smart phone yet and I hope I never get one! I'm sticking with the dumb phones.
Hyper connected cyborgs
Populate our race
Now humans and machines
Are symbiotic mates
Pets with names like Apple
Nestle in our palms
Lavished with attention
We're at their beck and call
Like Pavlov's drooling dogs
Buzz and twitter, hum and ding
We jump to answer every ring
Lest we miss a single tweet
We're mesmerized by drivel
Blue skies and trees are not required
Fresh air and sun are not desired
The cyborg realm is all we need
Connected, vivid, sterile, clean
Now I'm going to go take a walk in the woods. And guess what! Today is my birthday.
I hope you have a terrific weekend. Be well and good luck.