I for one miss the old days. Back when the news was simply news. Those times when I received a stack of carefully printed pages rolled and delivered by thoughtful hands to the entrance of my drive. It was a delicious part of my day on those rain smattered Sundays. Mornings when I could arise with no place to be. Awaken my soul slowly to the new dawn. Gently push the dogs off the bed and crawl from beneath warm covers as the sunrise starts to brighten a world still quiet from nighttime’s slumber. Enveloped by that pre dawn silence I’d go, wiping the sleep from my eyes as I wandered to the kitchen to fill the pot with cold fresh water pumped directly from the well. The headiness of the coffee a sensual pleasure as I added a heaping scoop of rich sumptuous grounds to my old but faithful percolator. The enjoyment found in the simple routine of pulling open the back door and setting my dogs free to inspect the perimeters of the yard proper . Allowing them to take care of any business they’d withheld during the night. At this point I’d judge the possibilities of the day. No cell phones to check. No gaging the number of approving likes I might have received on a photo I’d shared before I drifted away into sleeps embrace the night before. Just myself , a pack of romping dogs bounding out to check the most immediate fence line and nature in all her fresh awakening glory.
Once the coffee was prepped I’d grab whatever outer garment was closest at hand, slide my bare feet into yesterday’s mud encrusted boots and head outside as well. I truly relished my stroll down the long drive to obtain that trusted old friend, my newspaper. No checking of machines illuminated brightly with messages from worrisome souls near and far. Just me and a pack of dew wet dogs taking the first steps into the new day to obtain the news of the past. The clacking of the now leafless tree branches and the refreshing wind whipped rain drops were my background. Wood smoke wafting up the valley on the breeze let me know the neighbors were awake as well. No posts were needed of their breakfast preparations to let me know this important fact all the while demanding a reactive emoticon. The towering pines would put off their brisk scent clearing my head as I walked. Not those odors emanating from a plugged in warmer complete with manufactured fragrance of my choice, but the reality of rich damp earth and a vibrant aroma of pine needles rich with sap. It’s my belief that this head clearing bit of exercise simply increased the flavor of my coffee on these late fall mornings when I allowed my every sense to awaken in its own time.
That Newspaper was there, cast expertly in the gravel wash next to the ruts left by many an ingress and egress into the drive. Damp and darkened by moisture from the misty morn, that rolled tube of salient information awaited my gentle touch to coax forth the words within its pages. I’d retrieve the rubber banded roll from its resting place, reassure my accompanying dogs that it was indeed not a stick awaiting a toss and amble back up the drive. A symphony of chirping birds serenaded my journey along with the far-off cries of a crow somewhere in the forest announcing a newly found breakfast bounty. Carrying the paper gently in my hands I’d take in the glory of all that was tangible while hungering for my hot rich cup of coffee. Imagine my luck at not having a machine to reboot?
Back in my kitchen the paper was laid next to fireplace to dry as the silver percolator now installed upon the range began to bubble. The essence of drying newspaper mingling with the pungent odor of fresh coffee is reminiscent to me of hope. Hope the coffee will jolt my neurons into the maximum amount of action and hope that the words printed upon that delicate parchment will be well thought out and informative. Words well executed and fat with information that will allow me to form my own thoughts. Statements and sentiments to savor while drawing on my ownlifes experiences and knowledge of history. Words placed to be perused and pondered, allowing me to gain my own conclusions and form my own opinions . No instant pulsing headline accompanied by an earnest, yet dissatisfied or down right upset picture of the poster accompanied by a hashtag and a link. All blasting at me like a white-hot prod demanding an instant response. Not something to subtly ponder or a band of prose to ruminate about during my morning as I collect the fresh eggs from beneath the chickens in their warm safe coupe. But a leading statement encouraging me to read to respond not to consider. A response that if given, could mean my day would be exalted into the glorious realms of high approval by people I’d never met or cast into the bowels of disapproval hell by, once again, people I’d never met.
But those days of fragrant papers and gentle light have faded. Information comes at me in a million pinpoints of light like the theater version of jumping to hyperspace. I often wonder if my thoughts are truly my own or some Pavlovian response generated without care nor consideration. Quite possibly the latter although I do guard my conscience. As my computer announces an incoming proclamation I hear Sampson, the oldest of my dogs baying out a warning. A peek out the backdoor, coffee cup warming my hand against the day’s chill, reveals he has located a threatening and ominous appearing pine cone. He circles the beast, ruff up. Closes in, takes a sniff and does what in the language of dogs comes natural. He lifts his back leg and drowns it in a steaming golden river. Behind me on the table the computer re-informs me of my message. I look at Sampson now joyously bounding off towards the forest, smile to myself, head back into my warm kitchen , walk to the table and press the power button to off. Now let’s be honest, I’m just not that tall. But Sampson’s solution did cross my mind.