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The Hawk's Nest

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Coming to peace with the PC

The new PC, with all its upgrades from our old one, adds a another challenge to my already low threshold of tolerance for computers. I can use the tool all right, but at times, it causes me great frustration. Usually, as my aggravation gauge starts reaching into the red, I will simply walk away—out into our woods for a break.

Opening the door into outside air is always a beginning of relaxation from the irritation I blame on that contraption I use daily. First Nikki, our dog, is excited I’m there. Most dogs when animated wag their tails—Nikki just wags.  Just being in her presence, I start to feel better. Still on the porch I feel a breeze on my face, I hear the clink-clinking of the bamboo wind chime singing harmony with the obsidian crystals striking each other, all of it accompanied by the metal pipe chimes hanging in a nearby tree. Nikki and I leave the porch. As we wander through the trees, I listen to the wind in the crowns. I hear the dry grass under our feet cracking with each step. I smell autumn as it is taking control away from summer. I feel the stress of work fade out of me like the green is fading out of the leaves of the ocean spray along the path.

It is September, a month when peace, or the desire for it, seems to be a major focus. There has been another passing of 9/11 followed on the 21st which is the International Day of Peace. To say nothing of the election campaigns, with each party’s crusade to put forward their best solution for peace: economic peace, social peace, and world peace.  

Many churches use the second Thursday of September as their day of prayer with prayer vigils and special services.

In my woods, out of sight and sound of the computer, I start to find that peace. The world situation hasn’t changed, the election isn’t over, that computer is still going to respond to my commands the same, I know all this. Yet, I start to feel peace.

I sit under a grand fir, listening to a tree branch moan as the wind moves it along the trunk of an old snag, and I let the peace in.

Years ago my understanding of peace became personal. I was experiencing severe pain and for some reason I didn’t understand, but do now, I realized my pain hurt my body but not my mind, or some may say soul. Somehow, I was given another message at that time also: that my pain was not an excuse to mistreat others.  I could be at peace and treat others as I wanted to be treated even when ordinary movement was very uncomfortable, sometimes debilitating.

So now as I sit under that grand fir with Nikki sleeping in a hemlock’s shadow, I begin to think about the peace I’m feeling. I am not at peace because I’m in my woods. This fir tree my back is against is not giving me peace. The ground where I sit cross legged can not give me peace. The wind is not blowing peace on, or through, me. I have to be willing to be at peace, if I want to be at peace.

My thoughts go back to those days of pain and my decision to find peace in it. Then a very discomforting thought appears. I can have that same peace while working at a computer even if I don’t understand the new systems I’m trying to deal with.

“No, that can’t be.  I don’t want to be at peace with that damn computer, I don’t like it.”

But, if I can choose to be at peace under a fir tree why can’t I choose to be at peace at the computer? I did buy the thing to make my life better, right? Then I upgraded with all the bells and whistles to make my life even better yet; what more do I need for peace than the latest and greatest computer?  

The fir cannot give me peace, the wind cannot blow away dis-ease, and the computer cannot make me suffer… unless I allow them. Does that mean an expensive, sophisticated tool sitting on my desk can give me peace? No, but it can’t take it away either.   

Nikki wakes up and wags over to my shade to nudge me into continuing our walk. I listen a little longer to the forest knowing it is time to get back to work. As I walk back, I make a quiet personal affirmation to take the September reminders of peace into ALL of my life.

Then as I sit down to the computer, I realize it too is a part of that all.

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Author info

Ernie Hawks Ernie Hawks is a former theater director who has branched into the creative fields of writing and photography. He lives in a cabin in Athol with his lovely wife Linda, and feeds the birds in his spare time.

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