Friday, June 5, 2015

Unplugged

I was at the gym the other day, wearing headphones plugged into the elliptical, zoning my brain out on mindless TV (because exercising at the gym is so bloody BORING.  Nobody can convince me otherwise.)  And I looked around me and realized probably 9 out of every 10 people had wires extending from their ears, either to an exercise machine or to a device strapped onto their body.
And I thought, if aliens landed on earth, and stepped into Planet Fitness, they'd think it was a recharging station, and that we were all machines.  The thought kind of creeped me out.  We are kind of like the Borg.  Meanwhile, I think this wasp's nest I found in the roof of our shed kind of looks like something alien, or at least something from a creepy horror movie.
But the gym is actually the only place I wear headphones.  When I take walks outside, like I did today, I like to listen to the sounds of nature - birds, bees, flowing water lapping at a shore, wind rippling through trees, kids playing, and more.  I'm amazed at all the joggers and walkers I see outside on a beautiful day, all plugged in, headphones on.  They are missing the chorus of red-wing blackbirds, or the bubbling of a stream.  They might as well be walking on the treadmill.
They might miss this the flutter of the wings of a little bluebird flitting in and out of an opening in his bluebird 'condo'. 
 They might miss the peeps of little ducklings, paddling at breakneck speed to keep up with mom.
 Or the splashing of ducklings as they practice dipping into the water.
 Or the honking of unseen geese lurking somewhere in the marsh.
 Or the rustle of leaves as a caterpillar wiggles his way down a branch.
 Or the subtle sound of dragonfly wings.
 Or the plop of a turtle slipping into the water.
Recently, in my kayak, I took the time to just stop paddling and listen from the center of my quiet little lake.  And I discovered it wasn't quiet at all.  I heard loons calling, and geese honking, and insects buzzing, and I thought how much I'd miss if I couldn't hear the sounds of the 'quiet' lake. 
 Do you 'plug in' whenever you are outside?  Think about what you might be missing!
All photos in this post are from recent walks near my home, or near our Adirondack lakeside 'camp', or from paddling my kayak in the lake.   I know it may not seem like an art teacher-y post, but listening is a part of being observant.  If we don't open our eyes and ears, there's so much to miss.   So maybe this is art teacher-y after all!

10 comments:

  1. Awesome post Phyl! Your photos are Gorgeous! We do tend to let technology take over us. I was walking the beach the other day and had my headphones in listening the The Clash. I immediately thought that was ironic soundtrack for such a tranquil setting.

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    1. Thanks, Mary. I'm not lucky to have ocean at my doorstep, but when we get to Maine each summer, I love walking the beach and listening to the surf. That's my soundtrack!

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  2. That post was poetic, blissful and thought provoking, Phyl. Your photos are so beautiful and I kept thinking what a beautiful book you could turn this into. I'd buy it!

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    1. Thanks so much Pat. It is highly unlikely I'll ever publish a book, since I can't even seem to pull it together to submit an article for School Arts Magazine, so I'm very appreciative that people like you keep returning to read my blog. I know my ideas and opinions are frequently not in synch with the rest of the world!

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  3. This is a wonderful post and I love the photos. It's hard not to envy you in your retirement. You've really settled into a fabulous life style of appreciating life and creativity. I hope I can do the same when I finally reach that stage of my life.

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  4. I love seeing the wildlife in your little corner of the world -- so different from what we have here!!

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    1. Interesting - I never even thought about that!

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    1. It's really creepy if you look around you at the gym and start thinking about it!

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