~ John Muir, "Our National Parks," 1901
Isn't it fascinating that John Muir penned those words more than a century ago?
Numerous studies today report that more of us are feeling the need to "unplug," "de-stress," and "digitally detox." Hotels are setting up special programs to "leave your mobile devices at the check-in." Youth camps promote their lack of Internet connections. And numerous studies warn about the long-term ill effects of children spending too much time indoors.
Now, I'm not one to preach. When my kids were growing up, I let them watch TV and play video games. While I'm not really an early adopter, I tend to embrace new technologies before most people of my generation. And I find it hard to be away from my smart phone for more than a couple of hours. Here I am writing an Internet blog post about the importance of "unplugging."
So this is a wake-up call to myself as much as anyone else. I'm happy to have my smart phone along when I hike, ski, or garden. It offers a level of security. It helps me with navigation. And it's handy for capturing photos at moments when I don't feel like being tethered to a heavy camera...and then a beautiful image, scene, or memory appears out of nowhere.
But sometimes I need to remind myself to turn it off...to rest, recuperate, and reconnect with nature. Just as John Muir so eloquently recommended all those years ago.