I spent six summers working in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Grand Teton National Park. Not only did I have an incredibly cool job (I got to play a lovely Boston Grand piano in the Jackson Lake Lodge lobby–all while facing a view that has left millions of people speechless), but I got to live there..and meet amazing (and sometimes crazy) people from all over the world.
I usually had quite a large audience every night. I wish I could say that my performance was the draw for the crowd (I promise that I do give a great show on the piano, folks 😉 ) but unfortunately I think a lack of amenities often pulled people out of their rooms for the evening musical experience.
For the record, there are no rooms or cottages on the entire property at Jackson Lake Lodge with a T.V.
It’s pretty interesting to see the effect this predicament has upon the tourists. Jackson Lake Lodge claims it as a perk that allows visitors to more fully engage themselves in the incredible scenery, wild life, and National Park experience.
True nature lovers hardly notice the absence, but you were certain to encounter several other travelers who would suddenly find themselves at a loss for their normal routine and life. Sometimes entire families would sit in the lobby and sort of stare at each other blankly, the opportunity to have a real conversation being slightly out of practice. For the most part though, it was great to see people break out a deck of cards, reach for a good book, tell stories, and laugh with one another.
Though I myself am about as detached from television as you can get (we haven’t even had tv for years), I have my own set of “attachments”. Our internet went down last week for a few days–completely detrimental for my business–and I suddenly found myself in a predicament similar to the startled travelor who discovers there is no tv in their room at the lodge. A feeling of helplessness, a few gasps for air in the panic of “can I really survive?!”, and then a quiet moment of solitude when you realize that you are surrounded by beauty that has been there all along but just needed you to take the time to notice…the type of experience only possible by truly unplugging.
I have a love/hate relationship with technology, blogging, the internet, my business… I love what it allows me to do, and I hate that I allow it to distract me all too often from what is really the most important in life. I really want to be able to use them as tools that I manipulate, rather than allow them to manipulate me. I want to take the time to see the scenery of my own life. To enjoy my family, to enjoy the summer, to have the flexibility to choose to take an entire week off from blogging and spend it reading stories with funny voices, trying a new recipe, going for bike rides, or perhaps even to remember to pay attention to my extended family or friends.
I feel too often like I am a tourist oblivious to an incredible view and experience because I’m tuned in to all the channels of distraction. The sad part, is that we won’t always have that view. We can catch a re-run of some of the things we miss when plugged in, but we can’t re-run our life circumstances, where we’re at, who we’re with, and the season and the view will always change and never be the same again.
I might be a bit more scarce. But I’m going to try to enjoy the view.
Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah. She grew up on a dirt road on the outskirts of town where her neighbors consisted of wild life…which of course made walking to the bus stop an adventure. She has been chased to school by a herd of 114 Elk, a skunk, charged by a Moose, and they once had a wild mink sneak into the living room. Sometimes life for her can be too exciting. She currently enjoys living in her suburb hundred year old house in a quiet neighborhood where so far the only “wild life” is the neighbors pigme goats that keep escaping.
Brooke teaches private photography lessons as well as monthly photography classes in Logan, Utah.
Gosh Brooke, that was so wonderfully said and I totally agree. In as much, that the struggle is so great for me that I often choose on the extremes letting one or the other suffer. Currently it has been my blog, and consistently keeping myself and my images before the people. It doesn’t help that I am also a fairly new to homeschooling still trying to find my way in that role.
I really enjoyed reading this and I can relate so much. Thanks for sharing!
Great story Brooke. My family lived without a TV until I was about 10 years old. I credit this quirk of fate (we were poor at the time) for my love of reading, radio, and just listening to people talk.
We didn’t have TV either Vince 🙂 And I too love reading, doing things outside, and having good conversations! Still learning how to detach myself from other media traps though 🙂
Well said. TV I wouldn’t miss so much but internet? I’d feel like I was drowning, disconnected from outside contact. It’s what keeps me sane when I’m changing diapers & house keeping every day. I like to check up on family & see what is going on outside my walls, even if for a few minutes each day.
I love your post. I have actually detached myself from the T.V. these last 3-4 weeks. I find that I am more calm. happier and of course get so much more done 🙂
Well said. What lucky people to get to listen to you play the piano. Sheesh! You are one talented gal…
Thank you Natalie!
We haven’t had TV service for years. Haven’t missed it one bit. You expressed your thoughts on this subject so beautifully. Each one of us can get caught in the snare of technology if we’re not careful. Anything that takes us away from the important things can become a snare. Even something really good can distract us from what is really best. (Remember Elder Oaks talk, “Good, Better, and Best?)
Thanks for the great post.