Nature vs. Netscape

It is stating the obvious to say that we live in a time of rapid technological change. But that fact struck me really hard as I sat on a bench in a 19th-century village, a "living history" museum. I was transmitting digital photos (including the one above) via cellphone and laptop. As my fingers tapped, a fife-and-drum corps marched by.

Earlier, inside a 200-year-old meeting house, I'd wondered aloud to the costumed historical interpreter: "Why is it that the old buildings smell like old buildings?" She said it was the wood. I am amazed that wood contains such vitality that, after centuries, it still produces a scent. My state-of-the-art electronic tools will likely be outmoded and ultimately useless in just a few years - or months.

In fact, I have no idea how it's possible to send an image through the air. Perhaps part of today's stress and strain comes from this disconnect with everyday life. Not only is something called "agribusiness" the source of my bread, but I am in daily contact with devices that click and whir. I am out of contact with tangible elements of the natural world. I think I need some more "village" in my life....

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