I walked a little further than usual this afternoon, and this was my reward.
It wasn’t at its best — the scent was elusive — but it was still glorious.
As I walked on, I reflected that my walks along the river are so soothing. They enable me to slow down and get a break. Life seems much simpler from the perspective of the riverbank.
Continuing in this relaxed frame of mind, I hopped in the bath with a book when I got home, only to read the words:
‘A series of psychological studies over the past twenty years has revealed that after spending time … close to nature, people exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory, and generally improved cognition. Their brains become both calmer and sharper.’
That is my experience exactly. Well, the calmer and sharper bit at least; I really can’t claim a better memory.
The book is The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr. It analyses the impact of information technology on our brains, concluding that human beings’ increasing reliance on the internet physically changes our brains, he argues to our detriment, as we lose our abilities to remember, problem solve, and perhaps even empathise.
While it sounds more than a little alarmist, this rings true for me too. My job includes a lot of engagement with social media, and it sometimes feels overwhelming, as though my attention is being fractured, with the resulting fragments flying at speed in different directions.
But then I think of the time I’ve spent online completely focussed in researching an issue of interest, or reading through different perspectives on a topical issue, and I think my engagement with the internet is not as damaging as Carr makes it out to be. Every day it opens up new horizons of knowledge, understanding, and enjoyment.
As with most things, I think it’s just a matter of balance and self discipline. Not letting the internet substitute for real connections, making time for simple pleasures, taking time to smell the wattle.
Although I didn’t travel far at all for these photos, this post was written in response to Ailsa’s weekly travel theme challenge.