The Question: To Be (Present), or Not to Be (Present)

[Note: As a speaker, writer, etcetera, it is rare that I simply allow something to speak for itself. I will today.]

The Vacation – by Wendell Berry

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation. He showed
his vacation to his camera, which pictured it,
preserving it forever: the river, the trees,
the sky, the light, the bow of his rushing boat
behind which he stood with his camera
preserving his vacation even as he was having it
so that after he had had it he would still
have it. It would be there. With a flick
of a switch, there it would be. But he
would not be in it. He would never be in it.

2 responses to “The Question: To Be (Present), or Not to Be (Present)

  1. Okay, so you will let it speak for itself, but how about your commentary on it after the fact? Can we get that?
    Old guy ripping on new fangled tech that incessantly prohibits “being present”?
    People in general who walk blindly through this needy world?
    Encouragement for us all to slow down and unclutter our busy lives so we can actually have an “abundant life”?
    Where ya going with this one?


  2. Sorry, Joe! Been traveling all weekend without a laptop! Left this post for your interpretation, and I like all of yours. 🙂 My take is pretty simple — lampooning the human tendency to manipulate a moment for our purposes instead of engaging it on its own terms. In short, I’m a control freak who likes to own even my experiences. It is better to engage life than to possess it.


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