Unplugged—Day Three

Day One:

The scenery has turned spartan.
We drop down into a red-rock desert.
The group stops for gas in Green River,
and I check my e-mail again.

Recapture Lodge,

A rustic two-story motel
surrounded by cottonwoods.
No phones in the rooms,
there is wireless Internet access,
installed a few years ago
because, the proprietor says,
people could not stand
to be without it.

Day Two:

We head into the tight curves
the San Juan has carved
from ancient sandstone,
float away from our devices
a short distance downstream,
past a narrow steel bridge
150 feet above the river —
after which there is
no longer coverage.

Cellphones do not work here,
e-mail is inaccessible
laptops have been left behind
with their drumbeat of incoming data
digital bursts of distraction
the false sense of urgency
the expectation of e-mail
their balm to times of micro-boredom.

Day Three:

Time is slowing down
For the first time
in three days in the wilderness,
I am not wearing my watch.
I forgot. It is a small thing,
I have lost the nagging feeling
to check for a phone in the pocket.

We sit in a red kayak in calm waters,
passing a goose and her two goslings on the banks
We eat pork chops, the Big Dipper brilliant above,
the thousand-foot canyon walls
narrowing our view of the heavens.
A few bats dart and dive,
seeking bugs drawn to the flashlights
The conversations blur,
with periods of silence
awed looks at surroundings —
the circling hawks, the bighorn sheep.

This is the rhythm of our trip:
As the river flows, so do the ideas.
our path to uncluttered thinking
to our appreciation that
attention is the holy grail;
everything that you’re conscious of,
everything you let in,
everything you remember
and you forget,
depends on it.

Adrian Hoad-Reddick, August 19, 2010

Inspired by New York Times article, Outdoors and Out of Reach, Studying the Brain by Matt Richtel, August 15, 2010

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