Thursday, June 15, 2006


I am struggling with a curious backlash. Having cut my teeth and built my education and career around technologies that long ago might have been called witchcraft (thankfully, I don’t weigh the same as a duck), I find myself increasingly drawn toward older and simpler technologies, or pursuits that involve little or no technology at all. The irony of recording all of this in a blog is not lost on the author.
I’ve been pressing my nose into dusty old books, like my Moore’s Historical Geology, printed in 1931. Dr. Moore does a charming job of correlating rocks and fossils without the benefit of plate tectonic theory. I’ve been drinking coffee made with water boiled on my stove and steeped in a French press. Grounds be damned. I think my wife is starting to have fiscal suspicions about my periodic musings about the merits of vinyl and turntables.
Nest site (Blogger is being very cross about images, as I post this)
Yesterday, I ran across a link from the Shenandoah National Park website that live-links to a webcam aimed at a falcon nest site. Such a thing should be antithetical to my present leanings. I watched the clouds roll-in for a moment and returned later to finds the falcons briefly at home. Seeing them from a hundred miles away, preening, preparing for their little falcon-errands, was somehow moving.
This led me to wonder if my bout of techno-malaise is perhaps off-base. Is it a vestige of youthful rebellion? Maybe I'm simply being contrary. After all, technology is my friend. It runs the lights, puts stripes in my toothpaste, staves off the end. I hoped for an instant that the question was closed, until I recalled that technology also blackens the sky, blights the earth, and populates mass graves.
Now, as I lord into a big blue pack all of the things I will need to sustain me for a weekend, I am reminded of my first backpacking trip. On that trip I stood at arms length from a red-tailed hawk, who has been with me for the 10 years since. I can still see his feral gaze and smell his wild, murderous musk.
This memory began to lend some clarity to the problem of the scrying box and the distant falcons. Like words, the images of the falcons are signs of natural facts. In total isolation or abstraction, they could be meaningless, even profane. But they are truthful, connected in my mind to something significant, an event that follows and influences me.
I see that the angst against technology is not neigh-saying. Nor does it throw the baby out with the bath. It seems now to be an attempt to replace "What's new?" with "What is best?"

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