I took a little time this past week to gaze at the big, beautiful, gold-tinged loveliness that was the Super Moon.
These days I seem to be spending a lot of time in front of my computer. As a graphic designer and author, my job is to stare at a screen all day and all night long. And now, because we live in a time where we can take our screens with us, when I need to get mobile, I can bring my phone along and carry on staring at a screen… at ballet, or swimming, or lunch. I can go to sleep with it, wake up with it. Look at it when I’m stuck in traffic, when I’m helping my kids practice their spelling words, or listening to my husband telling me about his day.
It’s my very own, anti-social little world, contained in a highly addictive, thoroughly demanding screen.
And as I spend more time looking down or straight ahead, I spend less time looking up and around myself. Less time outside, barefoot, appreciating the colour of the sky or the growth of my plum trees. I spend more time listening to podcasts, and less time listening to birdsong, or the soothing sound of rain.
The more I develop an intimate relationship with my screen (be it computer or phone), the less I seem to notice the natural world around me; the amazingly interestingly inspiringly beautiful world I live in. The one we are all destroying, bit by bit as we become more and more about ourselves and less and less about our world.
So, I gazed at the moon a little this past week, feeling the cool of the grass beneath my feet, enjoying the silence of the night; imagining a time when there was no electricity. No instant communication or information. No light switches and air conditioning. No entertainment on demand. No supermarkets or cars.
What did those people do when they weren’t busy trying to simply survive? When it was dark and silent, and the sky was littered with bright stars and a huge, glowing, mysterious moon? How will it be in 20 or 50 or 100 years for those of us still left on Earth, I wonder? Will we even know the feel of warm sand between our toes? What it feels like to stroke a horse, or play in the sea, or pick strawberries, or dig our hands in the dirt? To stand outside and simply stare in wonder at the moon…
What sort of world are we making for ourselves?
One built upon technology, efficiency, convenience, and speed, yes. But one, perhaps, that is quickly leaving nature behind.
And that, I think, is a great shame for us all.