A couple of Saturdays ago, I really needed to get out and clear my head. The weather wasn’t the greatest, it had rained the night before and left the morning a little chilly and foggy. I decided not to let it stop me and choose to check out the Chautauqua Trail in Boulder (Dan was busy working this morning so I went it alone!)
When I hike alone, I love to listen to Podcasts so I threw on the newest “This American Life” and started the very muddy ascent toward the First and Second Flatirons Trail. Unfortunately because of the fog, I really couldn’t see much so my pictures aren’t the greatest from this hike.
Interestingly, what really stood out to me about this experience weren’t the views or the weather but it was actually something that happened at the end of the hike.
I’d been hiking for about 2 hours and since the weather wasn’t clearing up, I decided to head back down. As I was turning a corner I spotted 2 deer on the trail right in front of me. I could not believe how close and un-spooked they were by me! I started to slowly creep towards them and realized there were actually 4 deer casually grazing along the trail right in front of my face. I realize to some people spotting deer isn’t that uncommon or cool but to me living in a city for so long, I seriously appreciate seeing any form of nature. Also from living in Wisconsin, I know that getting this close to a deer never happens.
I grabbed my phone and began to shut off my podcast, imagining all of the great pictures I could get of these deer, and my phone died. It went pitch black. I knew that it was fully charged and on Airplane mode the entire time I was hiking so it wasn’t a battery issue. Frantically, I stood on the trail (while miraculously no one else was approaching and the deer were still chomping away on grass) and tried without success to turn my phone back on. Seriously disappointed on all of the picture opportunities I was missing out on, I realized I was so wrapped up in my stupid phone issues that I wasn’t even looking or enjoying these deer being so close to me!
So, I stopped. I put my phone in my pocket and stood watching the deer. I noticed one of them had the beginnings of antlers on his head and another one squatted to pee (did you know deer squat?!). The 5 of us were in each other’s harmonious presence until a dog came bounding up scaring my deer friends away.
I couldn’t help be be taken aback by that experience. I sincerely believe the universe was giving me a reminder to stop experiencing parts of my life through my phone’s camera lens or constantly checking my phone to see who texted me or posted on SnapChat.
Why else would it randomly die like that for no reason? The funny thing is my phone wouldn’t turn back on for the rest of the hike or in the car on the way home (which was actually a huge pain because I needed to look up directions back). It didn’t turn on until I was in the parking lot of my apartment complex and I haven’t had an issue with it since. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Of course this experience will not push me off social media or stop me from ever taking a picture, but it really made me think seriously about my phone addiction. For the past two weeks, I have made a conscious effort to try and check my phone only once every hour. Sadly, it is very difficult and I’ve definitely broken my rule more than once but this experience has reminded me to be more mindful of it.
I went into the day expecting a beautiful hike and a clearing of my mind. Interestingly enough, as John Muir so eloquently puts, in every walk with nature one receives far more than (s) he seeks.
The only picture I got of the deer before my phone died. Thanks guys.