The other day my brother in law was trying to explain to me what an App is.
See, I have no idea because I don’t own an i anything, or a phone or any other technological gadget except a laptop.
He was getting very excited trying to point out all the benefits of these apps, how educational they are, how they can make life easier…..
Told me how my three year old niece plays with an app that can teach her how to bake a cake, for example.
I said “What about the old fashioned way of getting in the kitchen with the kids and letting them learn hands on? “
I suppose I get it. (and I’m sure my niece gets plenty of hands on in the kitchen play too)
Life has become all about technology and you wouldn’t be wise to NOT teach kids through technology because it is what their world will be filled with.
Balance is the key issue really.
The balance between screens and the real thing.
Personally I’m glad when our kids were really little that we didn’t have to try and wrangle with the balance thing. It’s hard enough now that our youngest are teenagers.
I’m also so thankful for the childhood I had where the only screen we had was the TV, and that was black and white and transmissions only began at 5 pm.
I experienced a world “without screens” and that I think planted in me, a deep love and appreciation for nature.
My mother was forever shooing us kids outside to “go and play!”
And play we did…in the mud,in the rain, in tree’s…Scoping the neighbourhood for treats – fruit tree’s overhanging peoples fences that we’d raid and gorge ourselves on.
We’d be gone for hours, out there in the fresh air and sunshine.
We had no choice but to entertain ourselves.
My brother in law showed me an app that can tell you exactly where all the planets and stars are. All the names of each and every star, you turn the screen around and it gives you a different view, so basically you can look at the screen and then identify every constellation etc.
Pretty cool, I guess.
Maybe this is nothing new to YOU, but like I’ve said before…I’m from the dark ages here.
I’m still trying to figure out the TV remotes.
We’re really lucky where we live here on the coast.
At night you can see many stars up there in the sky. Better still is in the outback where the sky is so pristine and simply sprayed like a star spattered canvas. Absolutely beautiful.
When we were in the Philippines I commented on what a shame it was, with all that light pollution and smog that you just couldn’t see any stars at all.
Last night as my daughter and I came home from walking the dogs I mentioned that I suddenly had the urge to spread a blanket on the front lawn and lay there looking at the sky.
My daughter said she would like to as well.
Prior to the walk we’d all been sitting on the front verandah when a huge flock of Corella’s noisily landed in a tree by the lake, then took off again in search of a roosting place for the night.
The ruckus they made reminded us all of the outback, particularly Innamincka or Birdsville where the rowdy Corella’s are all part of the experience.
It reminded us of camping, and we all reminisced and said how much we’d love to be out there traversing the outback again.
Like the stars….It’s all part of what is so special about camping.
You don’t need to take drugs to feel good, think weird deep thoughts, contemplate existence, and be inspired…
You simply need to lay on your front lawn at night and look up.
Or down as it may be.
We had this thought…
What if gravity had us stuck to the bottom of the earth and we were really looking DOWN at the stars?
It made us both feel really weird. An odd body sensation imagining that you’re looking down, instead of up at the sky. Quite dizzying really.
I stated that there really IS no top or bottom or sides to the earth at all. Of course there isn’t. It’s just a ball hanging there in space. Weird when you REALLY consider it hey.
My daughter told me there is some place in Canada where there is less gravity. People weigh less there apparently? I’ll have to google it.
See technology does come in handy after all.
What did we all do before google?
We simply never had the opportunity to be envious of people in Canada who weigh less than us because they are gravity deficient.
We lay there and contemplated what would happen if gravity were to fail….pondered whether the Bermuda Triangle perhaps could be a place where gravity sometimes fails and whole ships fall into the universe….sucked away into some black hole in space…
Sometimes we lay there in silence just looking at the sky…Long moments just saying nothing.
Odd thoughts came and went.
I asked my daughter to imagine how she would feel if a lion suddenly walked up the driveway.
I know it’s a bizarre thought but I often have this thought, especially if I get up in the night and walk around the house… (Watch the movie Burning Bright – it’s similar)
I always have this odd vision of suddenly seeing a lion appear. Perhaps it stems from my childhood in Africa. My mothers baggage perhaps. HER fears? We NEVER went camping in Africa but we did stay in a mud hut “hotel” once where we heard elephants walking around outside.
I still to this day have nightmares of being eaten alive by lions.
We remembered a boy who used to visit us when we lived a few doors down from here. He went to the same primary school as they did.
He was from a family who didn’t care much, I think. His hair was never cut, his clothes were too small and he never wore shoes.
I felt sorry for him.
He’d just turn up at our doorstep and stay the whole day. A bowl of two minute noodles for lunch was like Christmas dinner to him.
I don’t think he got much at home.
One day he told my daughter that his boogers tasted like chicken.
We’ve never forgotten that.
He’s grown into a man child now, with a beard even.
His hair is still long, apparently.
I asked my daughter if he remembers her. She didn’t think so.
“You should ask him one day…So do your boogers still taste like chicken?”
The Corella’s flew over us again. Weird really because they don’t usually fly around at night.
They seemed to be unsettled and we pondered whether they knew something we didn’t.
Animals sense things… It seemed ominous for a minute. (but no lions appeared.)
Even more odd, their flock seemed to fragment and ultimately one lone Corella settled in a tree across the road.
We could see it gently swaying up there in the branches.
I commented how soothing that must be to fall asleep gently rocked in the tree tops….How lovely would that be?
This made us contemplate the lullaby “Rock a bye baby…”
What an awful nursery rhyme?
I mean really?
Who puts their infant up in a tree and waits till it falls down?
And we sing our babies to sleep with this?
Somewhere in the distance the sound of a dog barking broke the stillness of the night and I said how much I love that sound.
“It’s so comforting, yet eerie” said my daughter.
Yes, it is.
It reminds me of times camping on the outskirts of a town.
Dogs mean civilisation is close by….
It also reminds me of childhood. Dogs barking in the distance are just part of the familiar soundscape of night.
I remember once looking out my parents window at night into the back yard and seeing a pure white dog running across the lawn.
We didn’t have a pure white dog.
It scared me. I thought it was a “ghost dog”.
As are those damn birds you only ever hear at night!
I don’t have a clue what kind of birds they are but I have heard them even as a child living in Africa. Same birds here… I can’t even describe their cry. It’s shrill and insistent in short bursts, piercing the silence.
Not a pretty call by any means but one you only ever hear at night.
Do you know the ones I mean?
We laughed to ourselves imagining what would happen if we both fell asleep out there on the front lawn.
My daughter wondered if her friend two houses down, would come out in the morning to stand across the road waiting for the school bus and see us there fast asleep on the lawn. Would she come over to wake us up?
What if the crazy lawn mowing man turned up early in all his action man gear?
We found the whole scenario extremely amusing.
I wondered how many other mothers and daughters lay out on their front lawns at night.
We contemplated for a minute actually really sleeping out there the whole night but then again….it’s summer, lots of rain recently and for some reason the thought of wandering funnel web spiders looking for mates kinda turned me off the idea. I wasn’t about to drag the camp stretchers out.
We recalled sleeping out under the stars in the outback one time when it was like 40 degree’s and even nightfall refused to cool the horrid temperature down.
The next morning we discovered a huge nasty looking centipede nestled under our sleeping bags and all night long bugs and moths were getting tangled in our hair.
We looked back to the stars and discussed how some of those stars were perhaps not even THERE anymore….Pondered just how far away they really were.
How some look blue -ish, and others faintly orange… How amazing everything is.
Life….this planet and everything on it….simply incredible and WEIRD, all of it. Even us, human beings.
This thing….this network here on earth, teeming with life is just so bloody incredible!
How weird (and wonderful) it is to simply exist at all.
My daughter commented “I wonder how many people in the world right now are looking at their screens, instead of this.”
Missing out on “this”?
“I know.” I said, and it reminded me of my brother in law and his night sky app.
As we lay there and talked, pondered, wondered and contemplated all these things, my daughter and I saw three amazing shooting stars. I mean not just little flares, but sidewards shooting stars with tails….huge and orange….
We tracked satellites moving across the sky.
Watched the sky move….
I don’t care what all the names of the stars are, or where the sun is.
I know where Orion’s belt is, that’s all, but it doesn’t matter one bit to me. Not really.
The fact is, spending two hours laying there looking at the magnificence of ALL those diamonds in the sky… breathing the cool fresh night air, listening to the elusive night birds, distant dogs barking, the fruit bats in the tree’s, the swishing of the palm trees, the crickets and frogs…. THAT is what it’s really all about…..Alfie.
The total sum of the experience.
A little screen that tells you what “that” is called, though it may have its place, to me is nothing more than a distraction from the real thing.
The thing you actually FEEL with all your senses.
Try it sometime, if you don’t already.
Treat your mind and body to a world away from screens.
Really be IN the moment in a completely natural setting.
Savour it…inhale and digest it.
It’s a true healing tonic for the soul.
I feel better already.