John Markoff, technology journalist at the New York Times, invited Gary Snyder to write about technology, in this case his Macintosh computer.
Says Markoff, “Mr. Snyder might not seem the best person to ask to reflect on the milestones of the digital age. He is 79 and lives in the Sierra foothills in Northern California…Word of an Apple book replacement had not yet reached him in the California backcountry where he lives without electricity. He almost never uses a cellphone and has no use for BlackBerrys. He considers texting ‘abhorrent.’ But Mr. Snyder said he liked his laptop.”
So here’s Snyder’s homage. Those of you who, like me, consider their computer to be an intimate friend, will find communality here.
Why I Take Good Care of My Macintosh
Because it broods under its hood like a perched falcon,
Because it jumps like a skittish horse and sometimes throws me,
Because it is poky when cold,
Because plastic is a sad, strong material that is charming to rodents,
Because it is flighty,
Because my mind flies into it through my fingers,
Because it leaps forward and backward, is an endless sniffer and searcher,
Because its keys click like hail on a boulder,
And it winks when it goes out,
And puts word-heaps in hoards for me, dozens of pockets of gold under boulders in streambeds, identical seedpods strong on a vine, or it stores bins of bolts;
And I lose them and find them,
Because whole worlds of writing can be boldly laid out and then highlighted and vanish in a flash at “delete,” so it teaches of impermanence and pain;
And because my computer and me are both brief in this world, both foolish, and we have earthly fates,
Because I have let it move in with me right inside the tent,
And it goes with me out every morning;
We fill up our baskets, get back home,
Feel rich, relax, I throw it a scrap and it hums.
Published in the New York Times by permission from the author.
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