Unplug and get outside

It’s definitely time to get away to the hills. Life in civilization is getting too worrisome. Most of the new concerns have been technologically spawned by the digital age, but some are plain old analog stresses.

With the proliferation of new-age gadgets, wing-dings and hoo-haws, we have plenty to worry about. Those things are supposed to make our lives easier, but I spend about 70 percent of my waking hours rebooting my computer, putting fresh batteries in the GPS or programming my VCR (yes, I still have one of those things). Let’s hear it for progress.

After learning the hard way more than once, I now hit save after every keystroke when I’m typing on my computer. With all that saving, I think I type about three words a minute. But in the back of my mind, I know that saving often isn’t going to be enough. Some power spike is bound to come down the wire and toast my entire computer – motherboard, central processing unit, monitor, hard drive, mouse pad and desk. And it won’t matter how many times I’ve saved, because I’ll just be a lump of charcoal welded to the smoking frame of my office chair.

We rely on our computerized, fuel-injected, leather-seated SUVs, all the while knowing that if our home and office computers give us the “Blue Screen of Death,” it’s only a matter of time before the vehicle’s brain decides to take a left turn when we want to go right.

Even outdoorspeople aren’t safe from technology anymore. We wouldn’t think of heading out into the hills without our global positioning system receivers, but we give far less thought to taking along another 48 pounds of batteries to keep the things operating. Even if we do, what’s to keep the little gadgets from displaying a message like, “GPS performed an illegal function. This program will shut down.”

Get back to the analog world. Strap on your blaze orange, grab your rifle and licenses and try to fill your freezer with elk or deer meat. Don’t worry about chronic wasting disease – save that stress for later, after you bag your quarry and take the head in for testing.

For now, just get out and enjoy the habitat the cloven-hoofed mammals call home. Even if you don’t get anything, you’ll be glad you got away from the technologically driven world. And just once, don’t take your GPS. Use your map and compass. You’ll be glad you got back to the analog mindset, if only for a weekend.