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Entering the Dark Age

I’ve traded superfast Wi-Fi and a reliable phone signal for a log fire, candles and a cottage door that opens onto a Highland beach.

On my first night here I fell asleep convinced that through the bed, the floor, the foundations and the sand I could feel the vibration of the waves on the shore just a hundred yards away. On a wild day I will certainly hear them smashing against the pier.

I know the tide times now; I know when to walk so the rock pools and seaweed will be uncovered. My mind and body are becoming attuned to signals that are natural rather than electronic. No bleeps.

It’s getting dark early at night and it’s quiet; I hear nothing through the thick old walls of this fisherman’s cottage so for the first time in months I slept beyond 6.30am today. And 7.30.

At 8.30 I woke slowly to tranquility I haven’t experienced for years. Is this the return of a natural body clock that isn’t disrupted by the reflex rush to check gmail, Facebook or Whatsapp before breakfast? For the next few months there will be no wakening up to read the BBC news or regular bloggers over a cup of tea. No more crumbs of toast in the keyboard.

For two days now I’ve been writing without distractions and I’m sitting tonight down by the hearth with candles burning. No music. No radio. Just the crackle of the logs and the smell of wood.

It’s what I wanted, but going cold turkey and withdrawing to a life without instant access to knowledge, friends, research and trivia is confirming just how many waking hours I’m wasting by clicking and mindlessly browsing. Random notions to price international flights I’ll never catch have to be dismissed. But will that mean I read more or write better? I guess I’ll find out.

It’s still too early for a full hibernation so in the morning I’ll walk to the library to send emails and this update and by the time you read it I’ll have returned to Internet exile. Temporarily.

But if I no longer inhabit a virtual world do friends and readers still exist? If I can’t see you, can you still see me?

I’m just wondering.

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