Noticing Nature

So much of what we do seems temporary these days. Here today, gone tomorrow. Social media is a prime example of the transience of modern life. When we post on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, our message or photo might be noticed briefly by a few people, maybe more, but soon it disappears, never to surface again.

Sure, you can go back in time and reread Facebook posts and emails and you can look at photos you’ve posted, but honestly who has the time for that? Because every second new stimuli comes floating to the top of the heap, distracting us briefly, making us forget what we are working on, adding more noise to the bedlam in our brains.

There’s a lightning speed to everything these days, and it leaves my head spinning. Sometimes on TV a montage of images will flash across the screen in rapid succession, each picture appearing for barely a second or two before being replaced with another. It makes me want to close my eyes until it’s over (and sometimes I do).

I wonder how our brains handle this barrage of information.

Today’s kids are growing up with devices attached to their bodies from sun up to sun down and beyond. How is this affecting their ability to think, to process information, to remember?

Even those of us who can recall what life was like before electronic devices are being adversely impacted by these new ways of receiving information. Have you noticed how much more distracted you are these days, jumping from task to task as if you’re seeking a moving target?  It’s almost as if life has turned into a video game, and we are all trying to get more points. But what for?

Does accruing information equate to having a happier life? I think not. In fact, I believe it’s the other way around. Happiness comes from being present in the moment. That means turning off the cacophony of words and images, whether it’s your phone, computer, or TV.

At deadline time I am especially tired of looking at a screen. Luckily, I have a window just to the left of my computer, and I can view a peaceful scene just by averting my eyes: blue sky, puffy clouds, birds, tranquility. Right now I even see a gentle breeze blowing through the trees and shrubs next to my house. It’s like they’re waving at me, saying come out and play.

Yes, I will go outside and play as soon as I’m done. Even though nature changes with the seasons, it’s refreshingly familiar. It also reminds me what matters in life: living things that breathe and grow. Not plastic boxes and machines that whir and click and ping. I’d rather go for a hike in the woods any day.

Take a moment to notice nature this month. She has many lessons to teach us.       

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Peggy Sijswerda

Tidewater Women Magazine, Editor & Co-Publisher.

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