What Have We Forgotten?

by | Jan 16, 2024

All is Calm, Oil on Linen, 30 x 40 in.

Sipping coffee on the patio, enjoying the solace of the morning sun, scrolling through the tiny screen in my hand.

Email, Instagram, Facebook, texting, a word game I am playing with my sister, all compete for my attention. The addictive altar of the 21st century. A voracious vampire sucking precious hours from my life.

I read a post on Facebook. Scroll and tap to open another screen in another universe. Envy, divisiveness, humor, an onslaught of opinions assault my senses. The American flag and all that it means. Is there no more civil discourse?

A mockingbird sings. Remembering days long ago when spellbinding moments in nature captivated my attention, I lay down my phone. Leaving the rapid pace and noise of illusions, I enter the serenity of my thoughts, and imagine paintings to be.

Pelicans take flight over a calm sea at twilight. Pale moon rising. The scent of saltwater. A slight breeze stirs the balmy air…

The beeping of a garbage truck lifts my eyes. My neighbors bright blue recycle bin remind me what day it is. An American flag flaps listlessly in the spring air.

I glance at my phone and instantly detach from my surroundings. Algorithms lead me astray. Beam me up, Scotty. All that I loved is gone away. Line after line of brown pelican, dozens in a row, once rode the dune line and curling waves. Gradually, I had forgotten about this.

I was born into a world of radio and black and white television, and grew up in an adventure land of books, exploring in nature and imagination. My art flourished from these things. We become what we think about.

My grandfather was born in 1898 and died in 1997. An Italian immigrant, he fought for America in WW1, and told me stories of delivering ice on a horse-drawn cart and slipping it through the walls of houses into a wooden icebox and fishing in blue waters when you could still eat the oysters.

There is more computing power in our little phones than NASA used to land humans on the moon. A feat of American ingenuity that united us with hope and pride. Now where does my phone take me? It takes me far from my soul and soaring birds.

Much learning and many good things have come from technological and medical advancements.

But what have we forgotten?

 

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