BY THE LIGHT OF THE SILVERY MOON
A few weeks ago, we decamped to rural Minnesota to spend time with my inlaws after our holiday plans were abruptly changed by omicron. I probably hold an unpopular view, but I love Minnesota in the winter. The snow is deep, the wood fires burn hot and in January, the ice on all 10,000+ lakes is thick enough for ice fishing. And I can't think of anything more romantic than ice fishing—sitting in a handmade ice house, by the light of the silvery moon, listening to the ice crack and expand below you, while drinking hot toddies from a thermos. But I'm a novice at ice fishing and so my father-in-law generously set up a radar to help me understand where under the foot+ of ice the fish were actually located.
The radar is a funny thing, you drop a line down the hole you've carved out of the ice and It picks up your line and also the fish that are swarming it. You have to take your eyes off the hole in the ice and focus on the screen of the radar machine to understand what is happening out of sight. You become focused on flashing colored lines and suddenly feel you're playing a video game instead of engaging in a miraculous wonder of nature. I found it almost completely impossible to intuit the depth of my line or the nuance of the fishes' initial nibble, both key factors in making a catch. Instead, I disconnected from that sensemaking and got caught up in trying to get flashing colored lines aligned on a screen. I had lost the purpose, I had undermined my own innate capabilities for sensemaking, and I ultimately became so disillusioned with this "modern way" that I shut it off, pulled it out, and went back to basics which became much more fun, engaging, and mind-expanding (much to my father-in-law's dismay!).