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Monday, April 6, 2015

Into the wilderness

Modern communications are amazing. When I first came to my in-laws place on Table Rock Lake it was a 12 mile drive on twisty bad roads into town. Only there could I get a connection to the Internet. There was a drive through liquor store that sold dial-up connections by the minute. Now I get a strong 4G signal on a mobile hotspot. It's not cheap, but sure beats driving into town.

Besides cell phone connections, there are many devices designed to work with satellites. Everything from full phone service to a simple rescue button are available. Injured hikers and distressed boaters lives have been saved by the new technology. One cannot deny there are benefits.

Progress does not come without down sides. It's difficult to sink into the rhythms of the natural world while constantly checking social media. There has been a spiritual cost. There's a long tradition of people wandering off into the wilderness to quiet the mind and partake in a journey of self discovery. Most of history's great spiritual leaders have made such pilgrimages.

You don't have to be a Bodhidharma to benefit from wandering the wilderness alone. It certainly did me a lot of good, especially during times of great life transitions.

So is that experience lost forever? Is there a middle path? Perhaps it would not hurt to have a fully charged but turned off cell phone in the bottom of one's pack -just for emergencies. It would take some disciple to only use it in emergencies, but consider that part of the quest.



  1. One day the internet and mobile phone services will fail. It's going to be very interesting to find out what happens.
    When the internet goes down, all business transactions will cease, chaos will reign and only those with some ready cash will be able to buy... a sobering thought but one worth thinking about...

    1. Hard to believe it wasn't all that many years ago there were no cell phones or Internet -yet the world functioned just fine.

  2. read that traditional sailing by the stars is no longer being learned. too much reliance on gps.
    Bible says stars will fall from the skies. wondered if the 'stars' mentioned are actually satellites.
    apparently in the last days all that type of communication will be gone.
    should require all ocean going crewmen to understand astrolabes and have one in every ship!!

    1. There are a few hardcore sailors who still keep the old skills alive. I'm just a coastal sailor, but I keep paper carts and use my compass. Batteries die. Electronics get fried by salt water. I've yet to have the earth's magnetic field fail.

  3. Hermit's Baby SisApril 6, 2015 at 9:13 AM

    Cell phones are taking over just talking to each other. Yesterday during Easter church services I saw a lady (the pastor's wife, in fact!) taking photos of her daughter with her cell. And during Eucharist even!! It really ruined the rest of the service for me!
    I have a co-worker who cannot move 2 feet without her cellphone. I, on the other hand, have to be remined to get mine out of the purse to have on hand in case of emergency.
    I'm ready for some distance from electronics. Let's go read an actual printed book ...

    1. People forget how rude cell phones can be.

      I was pretty happy to score all the Travis Mcgee novels in one hard cover book for 75 cents. That my choice, what's yours? :)

  4. I have all the Travis McGee series, but it's all paperback. And a lot of John D. MacDonald's other books too.

    I love south Florida based books.

    Wade in NW Florida

    1. Have you read Ed Robinson's "Trawler Trash?" You might enjoy it.

  5. I'll have check it out.