Outside the sun is shining warmly, the sky is blue, leaves are falling, one by one. It’s autumn. An absolutely irresistible day for a long walk. I wrestle myself loose from my absorbing work at the computer, put my boots on and head out into the forest.
For weeks I’ve been working like crazy on this website. Forgetting everyone and everything around me. I’m utterly exhausted. Staring at the screen for hours and hours on end have made my eyes feel almost fluorescent. They are obviously not made with Teflon.
It’s so quiet. Not a breath of wind. Walking beneath the trees all clad in their golden autumn hues, taking deep breaths of fresh, clear, cool air, I realise I haven’t been out here for several weeks.
Normally I go for a walk almost daily, always along the same old trail. It takes about an hour. Up through the forest behind the house, then out into the open fields, saying hello to the placid cows, then further along a trail, up to the country lane, then back along the lane, down to the beach and along the ocean home. But during these past few weeks while immersing myself in the construction of On Our Blue Planet, I have hardly been out at all.
It is life-giving! Oxygen. Fresh air. Sunshine. That’s what I need. And the colours: The yellows, the golden browns, the reds, still with a sprinkling of green here and there. I inhale the smell of decaying leaves. The essence of autumn.
But something is wrong. I can’t really see, or… get into contact with the forest today. Not that we usually engage in a deep conversation, the forest and I, and yet, perhaps that is exactly what we do.
In a sense. It’s difficult to explain. It’s about presence.
But now it is as if there is a screen between us. An invisible soft cotton wall, that makes touching the forest mentally difficult, if not impossible. What is wrong? Well, of course I know what’s wrong.
I’ve been working day and night on this journal, finding the right name, deciding whether I should host it myself, and in that case finding the best domain name, as for CMS should I choose Drupal, WordPress, Joomla or something else, then designing the layout, settings, choosing plug-ins and so on and so on and so forth. And then pulling it all together. I’m sure most bloggers know what I’m talking about.
It’s been a real adventure into the marvels of cyberspace and the wonders of WordPress. And along the way, being a complete novice at these things, I managed to make a bit of a mess more than once. For example when trying to modify different things in the CSS – sounds rather like bad guys from World War Two – about which I had never heard before and knew absolutely nothing. But hey, why not give it a go I thought. Disaster struck. More than once. And I had to spend hours undoing changes I really didn’t remember how I had implemented in the first place. Aah, the joys of learning by doing.
But I overcame the initial hardships and after a few weeks of engaging work, the platform for my future online journal is now in place. More or less. And I’m quite pleased.
I wanted a very simple environment with words at the centre. An online journal. And no adds, no sprawling bangles and banners, no blinking, rotating objects to distract your eyes. First and foremost the words. Not a lot of hurly-burly to distract the readers attention. Except for, initially, the combination of the title On Our Blue Planet and the enigmatic photo “Earthrise” from 1968: Half blue Earth emerging from a sea of black. Hovering alone in empty space.
But now, standing here watching the cows munching grass, I contemplate the difference between immersing myself in Cyberspace and my present difficulty of going for something as simple as a walk in the autumn forest.
I’m not really present. That’s a fact. It is as if I’m walking next to myself. I feel as is I have been wrapped, head to toe, in a voluminous duvet.
It feels a bit like the day after a night on the town, when you’ve had enough, well perhaps more than enough to drink. But I haven’t had any wine or beer lately. I’ve just been working.
And that’s just it!
After three weeks of building the site, burying myself in the world of CMS, CSS, pinging, tags, meta descriptions, SEO etc. etc. more or less day and night, could I expect anything else? Loosing myself in Cyberspace and it’s marvellous possibilities and challenges, has its price it seems. For a novice like me at least.
I have ended up not being able to sleep properly at night, or day for that matter. Just lying down for an hour or two and then continuing. I’m enjoying myself immensely, no question about that. It is almost like living in a fairytale on speed. And I don’t even drink coffee.
Forgetting to eat and sleep, just thinking about the construction of the site is a wonderful and fantastic luxury, a real adventure, but Cyberspace is not the natural habitat of my mind. The chair by my desk, however comfortable and ergonomically correct, is not supposed to be the sole place for my body to dwell.
But I’m having so much fun. I want to go on and discover this new world. Could go on for weeks, but my body reacts against it. My brain feels as if it is vibrating, probably blood pulsating through and an area near my heart has begun to quiver in a funny sort of way I’ve never felt before. It must be stress.
No wonder I feel like a stranger in nature today.
I walk on along the trail, trying to concentrate on the green of the grass, the golden browns of the leaves and the blue of the sky. It’s difficult. I can’t break through the invisible barrier.
I try to relax and not think about it. After half an hours walk it gets a bit better. I’m still not fully present though. It takes time to wind down. Time.
But the forest is reminding me of what I am, who I am, where I belong. It reminds me that we are interrelated, the forest and I. That I can’t do whatever I want to my senses and mind and still expect to be able to experience its silent secret. I’m a part of this forest, this nature, that surrounds me. The soil, the fallen leaves, the iridescent green moss on the trees, the sunbeams flickering through the foliage, that’s me, that’s my real world. My life. This is where I come from, this is the soil in which my food is growing and this is the soil I’ll rest in when my life on our blue planet is over.
Sitting in front of the screen for days on end, pinging search engines, checking statistics, looking up IPs: Getting to focused on the wrong things. No, no no: Not the wrong things, just other things, very important things for many people and for me, now, creating, and in the future maintaining, this journal.
But it is simply getting too much. I’m overdoing it. I’m loosing my focus. Staring at what is supposed to be the platform, the frame, for my online writing and almost forgetting the reason for the process: The act of writing itself.
Someone once said that the problem with computers, was not that they might become like humans, no, the real problem was that humans might turn into computers.
Am I becoming one right now? Am I identifying myself so much with my work in front of the screen, that I’m taking the first steps towards turning into a desktop?
Wonder how a desktop would react to a walk in the forest? Hmm? Fresh air and sunshine would that be any good for the circuits? High, blue sky and munching cows, a real treat for the hard disk? Hardly.
That’s must be the keyword. I’m getting out of balance. I’ve gotten out of balance. My body is not a mesh of electronic circuitry. My brain is not a hard disk. Neither can take it much longer.
So, even though a part of me wants to go on, my ego, I suppose, I must put myself on a strict diet: No working on the site until I’m back in balance again and can fully enjoy something as simple as my everyday walk in the forest.
However, I have made the frame. My platform. My website. I’m pleased with it. So from now on I can focus on the purpose of it all: The writing. And rest assured, I most certainly will.
- INTRODUCTION: The greatness of small things – and the minuteness of the infinite.
- TWO of my favourite quotations.
- LOST in the marvels of cyberspace or the endangered art of going for a walk.
- TWO degrees of separation: Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Marilyn Monroe and me.
- A HOME, is a home, is a home…
- WHERE have all the flowers gone?
- THEN my feet will fall off!
- HOMO empathicus.
- A YEAR of silence.
- PRIVACY Matters: Dissent is the lifeblood of a healthy society.
- UNIVERSES come and go… trust matters.
- MARCH OF NATIONS – What a Wonderful Illusion.
- RECIEVE updates for free.