This morning, while floundering for something to write about, swallowing my desire to rant about the negativity that seems to be spreading like an unchecked virus around me, a song came to mind: The Impossible Dream. I have fond memories of Man of LaMancha. My brother went to see the musical in high school and came home inspired. He gathered our friends, handed out roles, taught us the words, and we re-enacted various scenes from the play. That memory of my brother standing in our backyard belting out this song is still my go-to when it feels like negativity is winning.
As to the negativity? When this is the best advice a woman can offer young girls in finding their place in the world, I am profoundly saddened: “The world we live in is a twisted and broken place.” I have no words to describe how wrong this feels to me.
So, I offer you this little bit of nostalgia and hope. You can find it on YouTube but it won’t compare to the wonderful memory I have in my head.
The Impossible Dream
Music by Mitch Leigh and Lyrics by Joe Darion
To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star
This is my quest, to follow that star
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far
To fight for the right, without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause
And I know if I’ll only be true, to this glorious quest
That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,
when I’m laid to my rest.
And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach the unreachable star.
There’s a webcam at Eilean Donan Castle in Dornie, Scotland. My daughters and I had been checking in on the castle for quite some time during our trip preparation, watching the tide move in and out, keeping tabs on the weather and the wind. Anticipating contact with our families back home, we set a date and time for our own webcam appearance. At the appointed hour, we waved and smiled and laughed, letting our families know we were having a wonderful time. In return, we received texts with confirmation that they could see us, a happy moment for the little ones and their mamas.
When we got home eight days later, I found that my husband had, indeed, used my office computer to watch us at the castle. I’d set it up so that all he had to do was click on the link and the webcam feed would appear. I guess I forgot to tell him to exit out of the site because when I woke the mouse, there on the screen was a frozen image of the three of us gazing up at the castle. I got the strangest feeling as I called my daughters in to look at us. Time had frozen in that moment and although here we stood in my office, there we were in Scotland, happily anticipating another week of joy.
I couldn’t bring myself to close the page. As long as the image remained on the screen, some remnant of me still roamed the hills, the battlefields, the castles far away. I still felt connected by some magical link to a land that felt strangely more like home than any other place I’ve ever been. I used to think that Santa Fe was the place where my bare feet tingled happily with the most home-like vibration. In Scotland, however, even through heavy hiking boots, I could feel the magnetic pull that begged me to stay.
Thunderstorms swept through last night, littering the yard with palm fronds and pine needles, taking down limbs and knocking out power. The image is gone. I knew it before I opened my eyes in the dark, feeling the silence of the house around me. It’s strange how even from the depths of deepest sleep the body senses change. I sleep in pitch black with the white noise of a whirring fan drowning out the creaking noises of the house settling around me. Something had subtly shifted, something tangible but untrackable in the haze of sleep and dark silence. I felt it. I am fully home.
My faith in humanity was restored a little yesterday. I’m not a pessimist or especially paranoid about the future of the world, but I’ve had my share of human-related disappointments and OMG moments to wonder (more than once, I admit) if we are not indeed going to hell in a wifi enabled hand-basket.
On the rare occasions that I’m out and about in the world, I’m shocked to see so many people buried nose-deep in cell phones or plugged into some other device that effectively seals them in a (seemingly to them) private, protective bubble of solitude and estranges them from the organic interactions going on around them. Gone are the days of chatting with people in grocery store lines as they are, more often than not, chatting away with someone on a cell phone while the two year old in their buggy empties the contents of the candy rack onto the floor.
“My name is [blank] and I am a cellphoneaholic.”
My children and grandchildren–my adorable, beautiful, wonderfully talented children and grandchildren–have been hypnotized by their cell phones. They rarely look up. Even the three year old is addicted. The first words out of his mouth on my last visit were, “Hey, Grandma,” hug and kiss, “can I hold your phone?” I was beginning to think that this is now the normal way to interact with people: talk loudly, wave hands energetically while staring at the top of their head.
Enter my recently graduated-from-college granddaughter who arrived for a visit on her one day off from work. She’s gorgeous (seriously!), smart and very sweet. She drove two-and-a-half hours through bumper to bumper Disney-tourist traffic in Orlando, all the while keeping me updated on her progress (thank you, Siri!) for our first solo, post-grad, woman-to-woman visit. I was very excited to have her all to myself for the afternoon. And I did! I was thrilled.
We went out for lunch and talked–face to face, eye to eye. And I’m happy to say that I don’t know if the part in her hair was crooked or straight because I didn’t see the top of her head once. We talked and laughed about life and men and love, and lack, thereof; we discussed the importance of real communication in relationships both personal and at work; we discovered new things about each other that would never show up on a Google search and had a great time just being together.
So, here’s my good news for the day: there is hope, I think, in the future of a constantly jacked-in world. It is possible to have a continuous conversation without the need to check out each and every ping or buzz of a cell phone notification. My granddaughter is living proof! She checked her phone discretely while I went to the kitchen for water. She put it away when I sat back down and engaged in meaningful conversation until she left seven hours later. I have to say, I am impressed, and happy, and content. Faith restored.
Is George Lucas a Cave Dweller? I’ve always thought so. He seems like someone who values his privacy. Then again, if he has everything he needs at his ranch, why leave? But maybe that’s just the impression I’ve gotten from what I’ve read about him. Or maybe it’s just that I like the idea that he’s a quiet soul living a sequestered life away from the weirdness of the real world. Nevertheless, I read this morning that George Lucas got married. Good for him!
Now the dizzy part: I’ve taken to cruising through Goggle Trends lately, checking out the big top ten of what’s happening in the world. It sure beats wading through website after website. Then again . . . George Lucas was the top trending story, so I clicked to find out why.
Tread lightly through the mine field!
I use Chrome as my web browser with all popups turned off, yet I had to wade through a myriad of advertisements just to get to the story (and heaven forbid you accidentally click on an image while trying to X-out of a pop-up!). Upon arriving at the landing page, I was lambasted by more ads surrounding and clouding the seven sentences in six paragraphs that briefly identified Lucas, his bride, and a short list of attendees at his wedding. Had the story not been in large font, the better to take up space, I would never have been able to find it among the whirly-gigs vying for attention.
Shiny, whirly, shiny!
At the top of the screen, just below the banner that hosted every social icon known to man–as well as small ads for sponsors–was a camera limping along pushing letters out of the way; a video on the right showed running commercial segments for unidentifiable products; below video number one ran video number two advertising a credit card. Sandwiched between the paragraphs and the videos were other advertisements, sponsor notices, and links to other news and trending topics and related stories and more news about other people only marginally related to anything on the page. I’m assuming there was a little profiling going on here along the lines of, “if you like this story about this guy, then you might like these stories about these people, too!” Yikes!
And people wonder why we suffer from attention deficit disorder. Even that discussion is enough to cause symptoms: AD/HD [A.D.D. OR ADHD]–the whole strings of letters–is now the acceptable term. How can anyone not be distracted from original intent if we are constantly bombarded by–Oh, look! Shiny!
A couple of years ago, I considered walking away from TV for good. I found myself turning more toward the internet for news and weather updates, where everything I needed was instantly accessible. I’m finding that’s not necessarily true anymore. If I have to click through ad after ad, wade through tons of video clips and news bytes just to get to the information I need, it defeats the purpose. My purpose anyway. I don’t want to be smacked in the face by advertisements. I realize that many people are making a lot of money on blog/news ads, but this is ridiculous. I don’t watch CNN because I hate that scroller that brings me all the news I don’t want all the time. The internet is now inundated with the same stuff presented in the same way.
Where’s a Cave Dweller to go for simple, straight-forward news? I’m still looking. And clicking, and . . . Oh, look! Shiny!
It’s not often that I feel totally cut off from the world or really mind if I am. But there are times when it’s quite disconcerting to find myself adrift in a quiet world.
Thunder storms are common this time of year in Florida. Lightning struck last night wiping out cable, wifi, and telephone service. Although I still had lights, I found myself without my normal means of connection to the outside world. Cell service was still up and running and I suppose I could have reached out through my limited and precious 3G data plan, but after making the rounds again and again, confirming that, yes, the cable was still out, I finally settled down with a glass of wine and an old familiar friend: William Gibson.
So, what to do when there’s nothing to do? Read, read, read!
It’s a sad state of affairs in my cave that I have read every book I own at least once and in some cases, many times more than once. It is also sad that when I pulled Spook Country off the shelf, I couldn’t immediately remember the plot which made it a good choice for a rainy night alone but a sad choice because I can clearly remember the story lines of Neuromancer, Count Zero, Burning Chrome, Mona Lisa Overdrive. I wasn’t sure if this was a statement about my functional memory or the book itself. Twenty minutes later, I decided it had to do with the book as my mind wandered away from the story and back to the video I had been working on when lightning struck.
My mind was still on angels and healing and the power we each hold within ourselves. The video is a very short introduction to A Gathering of Angels. I was in the process of posting it on YouTube when my computer freaked out and I suddenly lost all control. I couldn’t move forward, I couldn’t shut down, I couldn’t refresh or even minimize. I sat waiting for a resurge of energy to kick start my programs but nothing happened.
I sat bobbing in the water, waiting for another wave to carry me to shore. I am driftwood. Washed upon the shore. Once a lover of the tides but I don’t think I can take that anymore. I am becalmed by too many years of dissonance and solitude, but harmony and love can move my soul. It moves my soul. (Paul Williams, of course. If you haven’t heard Driftwood, find it if you can. I hesitate to point you to a download site that may or may not be a bootleg.)
So, I’m back at work this morning after a very quiet night, connected, becalmed, harmonious. My wine glass, still full, was sitting on the table with my unread book this morning. I went to bed early, a rare event for me.
I am still adrift in my thoughts today, wondering if I should attempt, once again, to upload that video. For now, I’ll post it on this page and see where we go from here. A Gathering of Angels
Just for Fun.
When you find yourself in a river of doubt, help can show up in the most unexpected ways.
A long, long time ago, way back in the 90s, I attended a seminar on the evolution of technology in our modern, high tech world. The phrase used to explain how human beings respond to our ever expanding technical world at the time was “high tech/high touch” and not, coincidentally, the name of the seminar. Supposedly, the more high tech we become, the more necessary it is that we experience high touch. The presenter, who shall remain nameless to protect the innocent, posited the idea that the more email we send (high tech), the more desirous we become to write long letters using pen and paper (high touch). The more dependent on technology we become to assist in our work, the more touch-y we would become in our personal lives.
There was life before smart stuff.
Even before the advent of smart phones, the IPad, and various other tablet conveniences, I scoffed at the idea that we (meaning I) would revert to the long-handed version of communicating via snail mail rather than the almost instantaneous gratification of email. Yes, there is something to be said for flowery, perfumed stationary, but if push comes to shove, I’m afraid I would have to say that email is pretty much here to stay. (Notice the rather long-winded and round-about way I said that? I believe that is the high tech version of high touch.) In other words, the more remote we become through technology, the more necessary it will be to connect with our fellow humans, to reach out and touch someone–and not just over the phone.
Cable was already a part of our lives in the 90s. We’d already become inured to the idea that we could stay at home to watch a movie rather than go out; date night could be accomplished with a bowl of popcorn in front of the TV, a small TV, granted, but nonetheless a TV. (I’m not even going to go there with the high tech/high touch in front of the TV. My point is inside, not outside. . . Oh, forget it!)
Now, here we are in 2013, and I believe we are decidedly more high tech than high touch. We can do almost anything remotely–and I do mean anything. It is not only possible to carry on a relationship long distance and virtually, but for some of us, it is preferable. Skype and FaceTime make it very easy to carry on a face-to-face conversation, to interact with our friends and loved ones in a very meaningful way regardless of the miles, or the rooms, that separate us. We can be on Mars (it could happen!) or in the next room and not have to suffer from high touch deprivation. High tech gives us the sense of high touch.
Life is constantly changing right along with technology, because of it and in spite of it. The ease with which we carry on our daily lives enables us to experience more free time. For some of us, that free time might be spent out and about with other humans (high touch?). For others, that free time gives us a chance to do even more fun things on the internet (more high tech? Or is that high touch with the things that bring us joy?). Technology gives me the freedom to exist in a very happy and meaningful way from within my comfy cave. I don’t feel strapped to my desk and my computer, I feel blissfully joined. I have a pretty cool life right at my fingertips. Hey, maybe that’s what she meant after all: fingers to keyboard. High touch/high tech.
Just for fun!
George Lucas and Steven Speilberg are, apparently, predicting the implosion of the movie industry. Here is the link–just in case you missed the short article at Speakeasy.
Today’s Friday! Have a great weekend and if I don’t see you until Monday, have fun seeing Man of Steel! Don’t forget to take today’s poll. And leave me a comment! I’d love to hear from you.