My dog Bandit is now 17 years old. He walks like a very slow wind up toy that sometimes tips over. The things that keep him going in life are his pain meds, love of food, and our stroller walks. Most of the time it’s local but on occasion he gets to the beach or on mountain trails. The stroller functions as his wheelchair. We are an item as we walk down the local roads. Often we are greeted by smiles and waves as people drive by. Then I get a lot of puzzled looks like “why is that woman pushing that 45 pound dog in a stroller?” Small children are often filled with a combination of delight and confusion.
Yesterday I was doing my home exercise routine when my zippy Irish music was interrupted on Spotify by one of their ads (I’m too cheap to buy a $ 120-year ad-free subscription). It was an extra-long commercial about Spotify Premium and the many reasons I should upgrade. The last one was something like this “Never be without the music you love! Stream anywhere, even when you are offline!” This got me to thinking why we always need content streaming in our ears? Have we lost the value of quiet?
Workout routine done (don’t be too impressed, I don’t work that hard) I changed my clothes and headed out the door with my 13-year-old Golden Retriever for a ramble. We drove to the Benedictine Abbey less than 10 minutes away for a walk in the woods. They have a series of trails that they allow the public access to.
Car parked we headed off. It was a relief to be out of the house and in the fresh air, sweet with the scent of coming rain. We headed uphill on a muddy trail, thick with woods, mosses, ferns, and lichens. The calls of hidden birds surrounded us as Dougie and I made our way up by a gurgling stream with miniature waterfalls. By gosh I was streaming a real stream! An unlimited sensory experience brought to you by NATURE!
Imagine what I would have missed if I had earbuds in. I think about the students in high schools I sub in. They are constantly with their earbuds, listening to music, watching videos, checking social media. What about the sounds of birds and the ruminations of their own thoughts? I’m sad for them.
It was a lovely walk. I spent a lot of time observing and looking for ideas to include in my paintings in my new online painting class. You might see some things from my photographs in my coming artwork….
I wrote this poem last year while I was subbing at a local high school