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Posted May 25 2011 12:19pm
Please, put down your guns, lower your weapons
Oh, I declare a change of heart – My Latest Novel

It’s all about content.  In our world these days it seems we all must write and record most everything we do.  There’s plenty of hay being made out there about our society’s social media addictions, some of it justified and some of it not.  For my part, social blabbery or as the pros say, “content creation”, is not simply (just…? only…?)an ego-driven addiction. It’s how I pay for groceries and put gas in the car.  The downside of all this technological craziness is that it’s hard to just put the camera down.  The world never sleeps.  Yesterday, for a couple of hours at least, I declared a ceasefire…

My kayak pushed forward into the dark, ruffled water. It took a while for the gurgling sound of the bow wake at the tip of my old Romany to reach my ears. Even though the world around me seemed nearly silent, it took some time before I became aware of the sounds of the geese landing in the distance or pushing across the lake’s surface to reach take off speed. It took even longer to notice that the wind through the young poplars along the shore sounded more like the crinkling of plastic than the usual rush of a summer downpour.  The noises of life on the land seem to linger in my mind like a thick shroud that needs to be forcibly peeled away each time I leave the cobbled shoreline.

If there is a curse to a life of writing and snapping pics for a living, it is that if you do it long enough, each step or stroke of the paddle is invaded by a narrator, each glance of the eye is processed through an imaginary camera lens.  It reminds me of the days, many years ago, when I would spend hours playing Super Mario.  If you played it long enough, you started seeing Goombas out of the corner of your eye when walking to the bathroom. You’d want to hit the “B” button suddenly for no reason when opening the refrigerator door.  Too many hours in front of a screen will cause flashbacks!  Too many hours behind a camera will have you suddenly concerned about exposures, even when you don’t have a camera in your hands… Too many blog posts will unleash the voice of David Attenborough upon every animal you come across… Or.. maybe I really am going THAT crazy…

Thing is, after a while, the real world does come back into focus. The occasional droplet in the eye spun from the paddle blade, the awkward stroke that makes your kayak wobble for just a moment, the sound of pickup truck in the distance wanting for a muffler.. These little moments slowly tease you back into the real world.  Eventually you begin to breathe deeply again.

I thought about that and more as I looked out over the lake.  I felt a chill as I looked up at the sky which hung like a painters drop cloth covered in a mix of whites, blacks, greys and silvers.  I looked down to the water which stretched out beyond my bow, silver, like mercury.  I wondered if this is what the hydrocarbon seas of Titan must look like…  I wondered what sort of tide Saturn must cause on those alien silver and black seas.  It must be spectacular, I thought.  I made a mental note to write something about it later.

Just then, two Canada geese flew not 5 feet over my right shoulder.. so close I could hear their feathers rustling as their wings thrust them past. I watched them rise, then shrink into the distance until they disappeared over the horizon…

I floated there quietly for a moment listening to everything, and nothing at all. Then I thought to myself, “Isn’t NASA is developing some sort of sailboat lander thingy for Titan?”

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