I happened across some old journals while clearing out some boxes. In one, I’d inscribed a beautiful quote by Scott Russell Sanders. Although I’d copied it a decade ago, it rings true more now than ever.
”No one who has been thoroughly awake to the real universe would swap it for a ‘virtual’ one. Our deepest urge is to bring our lives into direct contact with elemental life. No matter how clever our works, they will never satisfy our hunger. The likeliest way to achieve contact with life, the likeliest way to recover our senses is by shutting off our machines, climbing out of our cars, our electrified boxes, walking beyond the pavement to actual dirt or rock, and opening ourselves to the world we have not made.”
Ironically, reading the quote did not inspire a jaunt in the forest. Instead, I immediately posted it on Facebook.
It is difficult to seek direct contact with elemental life in a place that chills you to the core of your being. It’s like trying to be coachable in a martial arts class in which you can’t stand the instructor. No matter how much you try to brush your personal feelings aside, whenever he gives you some pointers to improve your game, part of you already wants to thinks he’s wrong. You tense up when you hear his voice and don’t really want him in your corner. And that’s when it’s time to find a new school.
I wrote an open letter to Eau Claire four and a half months ago, but sadly have felt more and more restricted and confined in this tiny, close-minded town. Sure, I’ve had plenty of good times since I’ve been here. It’s just that all of them have been in other places.
I’m pretty much an internet addict, constantly posting links and articles on facebook and twitter to encourage conversation. I check my e-mail before and after every project. It’s an excellent way to keep in touch with friends and discuss ideas with new people, but as the Sanders quote indicates, only direct contact with elemental life–both human and otherwise–will satisfy my hunger.
Here’s to meaningful, fulfilling, non-virtual interactions–for all of us!