Friday, June 20, 2008

First life


Back on our hill overlooking Dingle Bay, with an incredibly slow dial-up internet connection. No more big files by e-mail, no more videos. This hillside in the west of Kerry must be one of the few places in the developed world without broadband.

Oh well, it has other attractions. For our first ten years in this cottage -- in the 1980s -- we didn't have electricity. The nearest phone was a box in the village, a mile away. We didn't mind. In fact, we rather liked the disconnected life.

Too old for that today. Need the mod cons. Especially need connection to friends in cyberspace. But to tell the truth, I think I generally spend too much time on the internet, a temptation that here is vanishingly small.

This beautiful Atlantic end of the Dingle Peninsula has always attracted creative folks, and this year it seems the artistic community is more visible and vital than ever: painters, sculptors, musicians, composers, poets, novelists, photographers, weavers, potters, performance artists, dancers, and workers in metal, glass, wood and leather. They come from Ireland, Britain, the United States, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Lebanon, Japan -- and that's just a sampling from a gallery show that opened just before we arrived. It has been my honor to know many of these people, and the tenor of their lives is inspiring. They are a technically savvy lot, with their Macs and whatever internet connection they can get, but technology is a tool, not an end in itself. They remind me to keep it simple, remember that I have hands and feet, and stay connected to the world of flesh and blood.