Outdoor Time

Quote from this really great Valentines Day post, found at Byzantium’s Shores:

… I have a theory about rhyme, that we turned away from rhyme at the same time we turned away from dancing as a social and communal recreation, the same time we turned away from gathering around to sing together, the same time we, most of us, more of us than ever before in the history of the world, left our bodies in gray cubicles and began to take up full time residence inside our minds, our best gray thin and sickly approximations of the mind, divorced more and more from our blood, the same time TV came in and our towns began to glow with an eery blue light in summer evenings as the porches emptied and the fireflies and crickets did what nocturnal insects do undisturbed by laughing calling children running through the shadows and the cool dark grass.

That makes me a little sad. On summer evenings at our place there’s a cacophony – no, a symphony – of crickets and frogs and other night sounds. I hear them in minutes at a time – the short time it takes to walk from the car to the house when we return home from being out, or when I go outside to try (usually unsuccessfully) to entice the cats to come in for the night, and I always think, “Sometime we should sit outside for a while and listen,” but we never do. We go inside and watch TV, often complaining that there’s nothing good to watch, and occasionally I will glance out the window and notice fireflies and think we could be out there watching those instead and listening to the nightly symphony. And talking.

Don’t get me wrong; I like TV. Love TV. So many adventures and fascinating junk. But it does sort of get in the way. And it’s not so much the “irresistible attraction” of our magic electronic boxes; it’s just habit. Even when we want to be doing something else we watch TV because it’s what we always do, and because we want to be with the other person/people watching TV. It’s our electronic campfire and our story-teller. It’s not a bad thing, but it does get in the way sometimes.

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By the way, spending too much time indoors might cause nearsightedness. I spent a lot a time outside up until I was almost 12, then we moved and there weren’t any other kids nearby to hang around with so I started watching more TV. I got my first eyeglasses when I was 16; probably needed them at least a year earlier. That seems to support the theory.