I couldn’t do it
if I were home alone.
Being in the country,
my lifelines
to community
are the phone,
the internet.
In fact,
I couldn’t live
in the country
without them.
Not unless
we had the community
our parents and grandparents
enjoyed
here
not so long ago.
I actually remember
when the black rotary dial telephone
arrived
at our house,
this very house.
In those days,
there were party lines—
often, unintentional
or unknown
“conference calls,”
before we called them that.
In those days,
there were more neighbors
out here on the prairie
and more neighborhood
get-togethers;
Sunday visits.
We didn’t go to distant towns
as often.
In one sense,
we were less isolated;
and were it not for phones and the internet
and visits from retreat center guests,
we would be a lot more isolated
now.
This week,
miraculously,
in a conference call,
I got to meet and converse with—
while seeing their faces,
live,
on my computer screen—
three amazing women
from two states to the north,
from two states on the east coast,
and hear the stories
of their creative, courageous, meaningful work.
But the other side of the
remarkable technology connection
is that
I crave it.
There has come
a shift—
from contentment with inner connection
and connection with the natural world
and physical presence in community
as it presents itself
to an unhealthy reliance
on frequent checking
of emails and social media postings.
And so,
next week,
alongside friends
and wise teachers,
I’m unplugging.
There is some trepidation;
there could well be withdrawal pains
and, most certainly,
gift.
I’m hoping
for perspective
and balance
and an easing
of the craving.
I’m open to other gifts,
that eventually,
can be shared,
here,
with the internet
community.