I grow old . . . I grow old . . .I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.These lines from T.S. Eliot's The Love-Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
come to mind whenever I bite into the first peach of the summer. Food is memory, is love, is comfort. The peach evokes summers past, Augusts at the beach, the steady thrum of the sea like the beating of my own heart. Only one of these will go on forever. With age comes introspection, but I sometimes wonder these days if solitude of mind at any age has now become a willful act. There is so much stimulus around us, everywhere at least one screen conveying essential information at all times. With the touch of a finger we are connected to thousands of people, opinions, conversations, comments. Is there any escaping this feeling that we are missing out if we aren't constantly checking in, tweeting, reporting, connecting? My old college pal Bill Powers has written an eloquent book, Hamlet's Blackberry
, that looks to great thinkers of the past—Plato, Shakespeare, Thoreau—for ways to approach the digital dilemma and, ultimately, to disconnect. But there really is no way back; Pandora's box is open. And out of it, along with the demons, have emerged wonderful tools to enhance our lives.