On the train yesterday morning, I observed something beautiful. It was the simplicity of the fields whooshing by the window, with a low mist settling over them. It was like the landscape was made of layers of paper stretching back to the horizon, and each layer was separated by a sheet of tracing paper. The occasional tree would pop up out of the mist, showing its bare branches, looking like a silhouetted toilet brush trying to clean the sky. I’ve written before about my love/hate relationship with this time of the year, but as much as it’s sad to see the leaves go, it’s beautiful to see the colours of them as they change, and to appreciate it’s all part of a natural process that’s greater than anything us humans will accomplish.
I suppose ultimately, while gazing out of the window, watching all this go by, I was living in the present, in the moment. While the rest of the carriage were busy letting their smartphones make them dumb, I was getting a show for free. Some mornings, I can be the same though. I’ve consciously been looking at how much time I spend on my screen, and while it is quite low, it’s still shocking. Admittedly, it’s looking on Google to see how many appearances Denis Irwin made for Wolverhampton Wanderers, or checking to see when Coldplay last had a top ten single. What I try not to do is scroll perpetually, gazing at nothing. The phone owns me then. So it’s a case of read a book, or select a suitable soundtrack and watch the movie passing by, because by wrapping myself up in an online world, that’s exactly what real life will do – it will pass me by.