A few mornings ago my running path was buried under 18″ of new powder, so I broke out the snowshoes I keep in my trunk during winter. I headed to the park, equipped – as usual – with my ID (in case there’s a rash of muggings in rural Vermont) and my phone.
Running days I use the phone for music and tracking time and distance. Today, however, I’d left my earbuds at home, taking the phone with the sole intention of taking pictures, should the mood hit me.
And it did hit me.
As I trudged from the car across the snowy golf course, the sound of traffic diminshed, and only the roar of the nearby Battenkill serenaded my walk. My legs were soon on fire, but the exhaution became like a drug. I giggled and pushed on, and before I knew it, I’d stomped the word “peace” in the snow in letters big enough to be seen from a plane.
It was the most creative thing I’d done in a week. It was also, with the exception of the daily “don’t-forget-your-lunch” and “how-was your-day-honey” utterances, the only personal encounter I’d had with another human being – however brief it would be when that theoretical plane passed over – all week. I interact with dozens of customers and my corworkers all day in our company’s online chat rooms. I may ‘like’ a status or two on Facebook, but even when I run at a community park, my primary interaction with humanity is through the intermediary of my phone or some other digital device.
The other morning, completely alone in the park, surrounded by snowy mountains and disconnected from digitas, stomping out my piece wasn’t about politics. It was the peace of reconnecting with something real.