Where progress goes to die

Riding my mountain bike has been a medium for clearing my mind over the past couple of years.
I was on mile 11 of my ride today somewhere in the confines of Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park, when I encountered St. Paul’s cemetery. One of the most interesting elements about the city for me is how everything is built around the cemeteries.

I thought of a quote that a friend of mine had referenced in some of the work that he does with young people in the city, and felt compelled to get off the bike to chew it over.

“He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.”

-Harold Wilson

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It is a sobering thought, considering all of the finger pointing, blame gaming and righteous indignation that transpires in our political discourse, social interactions and the like.

The solution?

That’s the million dollar question.

The only thing I came up with was to keep on pedaling, as I got back on the bike and rode off.

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Mother Nature vs. Connectivity to the World at Large – Round 1

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Call it a contrived overblown figment of my imagination, but I can say definitively that my communes with nature have had a mentally detoxifying effect on my psyche. I shudder to think of the alternative, had I not discovered the rejuvenating properties of being enveloped in the arms of Mother Nature. Would I be ensconced in a straitjacket; uncontrollably drooling from the side of my mouth, while rhythmically rocking myself back and forth or might I be an incessantly angry individual over the slights that the world routinely doles out?

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Our uber-connected existence is a double edged sword, we are forced to engage, compelled to assimilate or otherwise we are left out in the cold. Seemingly, it is the price that we begrudgingly or unwillingly pay for merely existing in the 21st century.

Many of us; myself included, are at the point of no return. The idea of tossing my Smartphone into the swirling tempest of the waters that I am entranced by has crossed my mind a number of times, but at what cost?

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I am tethered to my Smartphone, dare I say that I am not as smart as I would like to think I am without its quad core processor at my disposal. Sadly, I can’t recall much of anything… From upcoming meetings with clients; phone numbers; email addresses for family members, let alone my statistics from my most recent workout.

The million dollar question is this… Are we better human beings for all of the efficiency that technology provides us or are we less human because of it? Dare I say that social media is an oxymoron? As it is the contention of many people that it makes us less social in many instances. We fix our gaze on the screen of our Smartphone’s more intimately than we do our fellow human beings, often we won’t even bother to acknowledge a person within our immediate radius, merely because it is too labor intensive to fire up our vocal cords.

Our technology has a duality in that it has become the proverbial link to our livelihood and in some respects, our identity.

But, as I ponder the answers to these questions and others, the sights, sounds, scent, touch and taste of Mother Nature wipes my mental slate clean… And I scuttle into the escape that is Nature and allow the lull of the water mercifully drown that which was weighing on me and everything is back in balance; at least for now.

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