In my apartment, there is a picture window that looks out on the Glennland Building, a half-block to the east.
There, in late spring, two pigeons built a nest in one of the air-conditioning vents. It has been a pleasure to look out at their progress in this and, finally, at their expeditions to find food for their babies.
Meanwhile, the president, commenting recently on police killings, mentioned the anxiety and tension caused by the 24-hour news cycle.
In fact, some of the reporters claim their work is now reaching the immediacy of real time.
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But truly this is not so. All of these machines, starting with the book, give only abstraction and an aid to memory. For me, at least, the “real time” very quietly is watching the pigeons down the block. In that quiet you can then look up, see the sky, find the ground beneath your feet and so have the confidence to act if action is required.
Now the book-internet development offers a kind of very important liberty. It may be a harbinger of the united world as a fulfillment of that liberty. But you must be weaned of it to use it or it might swallow you alive.
So I say real time is not in these fascinating marks on paper or in sounds from cellphones, but in quietly looking out the window and enjoying the pigeons.
They tell me this is true, and asked me to tell you as well.
John Harris, State College