It's the second day of autumn, and for me, a western Pennsylvanian, this is one of my most cherished times of year. I come from a place that gets washed over as far as the eye can see with reds, oranges, purples, yellows and browns. In a cool way, it's the land's last-call on colors before we are seeing gray and white for a while. In Colorado, fall doesn't last long — a few weeks or so. Those aspens glow gold, and then it's gone.
That's why, in these next few weeks, if you find yourself on any major mountain top with a scenic view you'll probably get stuck behind a handful of people. They'll be lining up for pictures, recording Snap Chats with the screen filter of Chip the Buffalo, and getting their posts up on almighty Instagram.
It's not anything we don't already expect. Technology gave us a lens through which we view the world, and by golly, we do view a lot of the world through those lenses. Which is what concerns me the most, because we are too conditioned to live behind screens.
I've personally lived a lot of my life behind a camera and behind a cell phone, which is why I gave myself a personal motto: "Snap one, set it down. Be here and be now."
For the next few weeks, I minimize my cell phone use and I really think you should, too. You can borrow my motto, if you want ... I don't mind.
When it comes to the natural wonders of the world, they are best viewed in the moment, not in the car driving home as you try and pick the prettiest picture to upload. They are best viewed when you're standing with your hands in your pockets, cozy in a warm sweater with arms around friends as the fall breeze touches your faces. It will forever be true that moments are best remembered when you are there and present.
In most cases, we take pictures to remember, but nowadays, we take so many pictures that they become just another in the computer's library, or on Facebook's wall.
I bet if you stood and watched, if you were actually there and present, you would remember every moment. Why? Because it's so rare today to slow down, to step out from behind a screen, and to take in a view for what it is, not what a filter makes it, that you would remember simply based on the conscious choice to not live through a lens. I know it's hard, but you can do it.
You can take pictures, sure, but all I am saying is set the cell phone down after the first few. Take a seat and let the views sink into your mental library. It's sometimes hard to remember that you have a memory beyond just the memory storage on your phone.
Happy fall, and remember to send your mother a thank you card for shipping your ass out to this insanely beautiful place.