Friday, December 15, 2006

Snowbirding

Sorry about the missing post yesterday. I was in transit to a warmer place. Some of you will know from previous years that I am fortunate enough to spend the winter on a sweet little island in the south central Bahamas. I never quite know what the internet situation will be when I arrive, so if I'm not here now and then you'll know what's up. Or rather "down." As it turns out, the DSL connection I finally got last winter is non-functioning and I am temorarily reduced to an incredibly slow dial-up. The bits and bytes might as well come and go by mail boat.

It is distressing to find myself so wired to the web, me, who extolls the virtues of visceral vs. virtual reality. But I must admit I love the discipline of this on-line journal, and the warm reception it seems to have found with like-minded people around the globe.

I have only the the sketchiest understanding of how the internet works -- physically or economically -- but like so many of us, I have become an active node -- reading and writing -- in a web of interconnectedness that rivals the human brain in complexity. Google has stopped showing on its search page the number of pages indexed, but it is larger than the human population of the world. The amount of information I have access to is vastly more than I could ever assimilate. We used to worry about the web crashing. The greater danger today is that we will crash from information overload.

Which is an important reason why I like to escape to the island. A wobbly internet connection is the price I am willing to pay for dark skies, silence, no TV, a phone that almost never rings, and nowhere to drive except up and down the island's one road.