But now, using GPS, we’ve interrupted that old rapport between our bodies and the earthly sensuous. We’re no longer noticing the patterns of the place we are in, registering the sounds and the smells and the shape of various landforms as we pass them—because we’re synapsed to the smartphone, taking directions from a device that’s taking its directions from a complex of thirty-two satellites orbiting the earth twelve and a half thousand miles above our heads! We no longer know where we are anymore without GPS to tell us; indeed, we no longer really inhabit our places, since we spend so much time living via satellite. That is painful, and sad—the forfeiting of something so primal, so precious, so intimately a part of us that we hardly notice it slipping away.
Sadder still, by using GPS we no longer experience the delicious delirium of getting lost in the woods or the mountains. And so we no longer experience the great heightening of our animal senses, the keen synaesthetic attention to the land’s every nuance and subtlety that is triggered by getting lost.
wrap your tongue around the way
fire erupts, hisses, and sizzles
look beyond stars and
the shouts of children dancing at dusk
twilight empties the sky like fermented fruit
we root through compost
you are light that fills light
“When I’m not writing I feel an awareness that something’s missing. If I go a long time, it becomes worse. I become depressed. There’s something vital that’s not happening. A certain slow damage starts to occur. I can coast along awhile without it, but then my limbs go numb. Something bad is happening to me, and I know it. The longer I wait, the harder it is to start again.
When I’m writing, especially if it’s going well, I’m living in two different dimensions: this life I’m living now, which I enjoy very much, and this completely other world I’m inhabiting that no one else knows about.” - Jennifer Egan