The Rocky Road to Freedom

I had just spent a night of deep sleep.  I parked my blanket and myself about 200 feet downhill from my car and alongside a mountain stream and rapids.  It can be difficult to sleep out-of-doors but rapids and waterfalls have always lulled me to sleep.  I started my day well before dawn driving slowly through the darkness along the narrow Colorado road.  Just before sunrise I drove into a patch of clouds.  I would call it fog a lower elevations.  The clouds broke slightly and I stopped and managed a few nice shots of the cloud filled valley with a touch of red above.  I drove on to find myself in the absolute middle of the biggest cloud I have ever seen.  Or so it seemed.  I was just about to give it up and stop at what I had hoped was the side of the road, and there was the bright sun bathing the San Juan Range valley that lay ahead.  I rounded a turn and the scene below was what greeted me.  I long ago centered my life to live for days exactly like this.

Double-crested Cormorants, Wisconsin.

Male Ruddy Duck, Wisconsin.

A distant Northern Shrike late on a winter’s day.

Twice over the years, wind and ugly light ruined my attempts to photograph the delicate and elusive (for me) White-fringed Prairie Orchid.  In 2008 I finally made my first pictures that I have been willing to share with others.

A Hover Fly (top) and a Bumble Bee.

A just fledged Great-horned Owl.

Baby Mourning Dove.

Lil Brown Bird?

The Thunderbirds, err, the Blue Angels, err, The Canadian Geese.  Make that the Canada Geese.

I was just thinking about computers, computer software and cruising the internet at various websites.  I have had computers and been on the WWW for 15 years now.  Many of you go back a bit farther.  Personal computing has been around with some degree of normality for over 20 years.  Be it software, the internet or computers themselves, is there anything else that we spend our money on and use so much that works so poorly?  I mean 20 years come on.  What else would we accept this much incompetence with.  Think about just the past six months.  How many websites did you visit that you could not navigate properly?  How many downloads did you attempt and then fail at?  How many times did your computer slow up and make you wonder if your six month old machine was already done for?  If you are silly enough (like me) to have a Windows-based PC, how much time do you spend protecting it via Window’s Updates or maybe an anti-virus control?   I know many of you are using your phone to browse, but even then it is the same internet.   What else in life would you tolerate this level of incompetence?  Your car.  They do break down but are you okay with it if it takes three times as long to start today as yesterday?  Do you mind adding new “alarms” to your car daily in order to keep it from being hijacked?  How about your refrigerator?  If it worked at the same level of performance that your computer does, is that okay?   Your stove?  Your plumbing?  Maybe your toilet? 

A few months ago I was “hacked” by some unscrupulous person.  That person was really an idiot to have chosen me.  They got into everything I was involved with, such as social networking sites, email, photography related ventures and even this blog.  They had to be stupid because there was virtually nothing to be gained by hacking me.  I mean I was, for the first time since 1996, not using the internet at all when I was hacked.  I had already left all of the important institutions that I used to be involved with pertaining to finances and business.  I was for two months basically living “off the grid”.  You could not even reach me by phone.  In other words they got only things of zero value.   It took me a few days to fix everything, and of course I realize it could happen all over again.  Would we tolerate our houses or even our cars being under assault the way our computer lives are?  Likely not.

As an aside the experiment of living with almost no technology and no contact worked.  I mean it was a freeing experience.  It is amazing how wonderful nature is when you are not thinking of telephone calls, texting or websites.  It is also shocking how quickly you get over not having communication technology and accept the basics that we were all born with.   There is actually something in the universe much bigger than us, although we have an increasing number of people who do not see it.

The one thing all of us, the humans and the animals have in common, is that change is scary.  We would all like our lives wrapped up neatly.  Sealed in a way that nobody can disturb it.  Change is however inevitable and if we always fight it, we will never discover what we have been missing.

I must say that having a platform for publishing or broadcasting one’s words is a most cathartic experience.

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