Like so many other people, I spend most of my life staring at screens – at work, writing this blog, and keeping track of the monstrous lunatics currently in charge of the U.S. government.
On a long Fourth of July weekend trip to Central California visiting family and friends, it seemed time for an experiment which involved not looking at a computer, mobile device or TV screen for four days.
It was heavenly, and so was the visit with sister Susan in Arroyo Grande, who dragged me along on a short hike above Lake Lopez with her friends and dogs.
Sue's place on top of a hillside was looking exceptionally beautiful thanks to the torrential rains this winter.
Two years ago, her husband BJ tore out the front lawn and planted drought-resistant landscaping. The result looked like a Sunset Magazine cover pictorial on the good life in Central California.
He had also planted a vegetable and herb garden enclosed by fencing to keep out the neighborhood wild animals on the hillside.
On Sunday evening BJ picked four types of lettuce for a garden greens salad fresh from the garden.
Using fresh basil, we made pesto sauce for one of the simplest, healthiest, most delicious meals of my life.
Two days without hearing any absurd news also contributed to personal health, and I slept ten hours before heading further south to Santa Barbara. The view above is from the back balcony of Jack Murray, a friend for almost 50 years.
Fourth of July was spent on Amtrak's Coast Starlight, which travels daily to and from Los Angeles and Seattle. It was packed with tourists from all over the world, many of them living and working in the Bay Area, on the same long weekend getaways to the Central California coast. In the parlor car for wine tasting, there was a sweet, smart Brazilian couple from Espiritu Santo who were living in San Jose while he worked at Google. In the dining car, I broke bread with two Tibetans raised in South India who currently lived in Berkeley and a young man from Haiphong, China by way of Canada who was coding for a start-up in San Francisco's Mission Bay "where I can't afford my rent even though I'm being paid well."
There were also a few passengers engaging in the opposite of digital detox which seemed like a missed opportunity.