The noise shattered my peaceful reverie Saturday afternoon alongside the lake at Lackawanna State Park.
I struggled to focus on the yellow wildflowers, concentrating on the details.
My cell phone exploded with notifications.
I pulled the phone out and checked to see what the commotion was.
After all, who wants to miss anything important?
Some friends were sending messages in a group chat on Facebook Messenger. I scanned the thread to see if an immediate response was necessary, then slid the device back into my pocket.
The wildflowers once again drew my attention. They grew in thick patches right up to the water’s edge. I studied their tall stems, toothy leaves and golden petals.
I ignored the sound and snapped a few pictures with the camera hanging around my neck.
Ding. Bloop. Dah-ding.
Once again, I pulled out the phone, afraid I was missing something.
A spam email.
A notification from an app I no longer use.
An emoji in the group chat.
I looked up from the screen at the natural scene around me and hit the volume down button until the ringtone was muted, then I stuffed the distraction into my camera bag and zipped it shut.
After all, I didn’t want to miss anything.
I took a few more pictures of the yellow flowers and moved on down the path, pausing to watch a bumblebee explore a small patch of goldenrod.
The beauty of the Abingtons (and all of northeast Pennsylvania) is striking. The area’s landscapes are easy to appreciate, even while speeding by in a vehicle. But do those fleeting glances do them justice?
How often do we slow down to notice the roses, let alone stop and smell them?
That’s why I was at the state park – and Dalton Streamside Park before that – on Saturday afternoon: to slow down and pause. I set out to see how many wildflower varieties I could find, and I photographed some of them to share.
At the state park, I trekked back to my car with my cell phone still tucked away in my camera bag. I was tempted again to pull it out but resolved to wait until I reached the parking lot. As I approached, I noticed two large birds soaring high above the trees just ahead. Although they were too far away for me to see much detail, the white heads and tail feathers were unmistakable.
I lifted my camera, but too late. It happened too fast to take a picture.
Too fast even to notice, had I been checking notifications on my cell phone.
I’m glad I didn’t miss it.
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