between-our-steps-August-1-16In editorials and blogs, Facebook posts, the front page of the newspaper, and the pregame show for a football game, Pokémon Go has been up for discussion. Places are proud of being PokéStops. People praise the game for getting families to play together and for getting people walking. Some say it opens the eyes to to the world in a new way.

Unlike other computer games which have the player hunched over a screen inside, players of Pokémon Go are out and about, visiting the sites, exploring neighbourhoods.

Except, in the football pregame show, which had a couple guys looking for pokémon to capture, they were getting in the way of the warmups, ignoring the activities actually going on around them while they searched for these virtual creatures.

Okay, maybe I should have tried the game before writing this. And I confess that all I really know about Pokémon comes from the adaptation of the idea in Jim Butcher's Codex of Alera series. And it does seem as if, like geocaching, this game can be a family activity and get people out of the house and into the world. But I wonder about walking down the street with attention foccused on a smart phone.

When I walked out our lane to get the mail, a killdeer saw me and flew up on to the lane. As I got closer it called out and flew just a little further ahead. It kept just far enough in front of me to make me think I could catch it if I wanted to. On the way back to the house, I respected its wishes and did not search for its nest.

I did watch the kingbirds fly up onto the roof of the woodshed with insects in their mouths. I figured out that their nest is hidden in the bell tower up there.

The snapping turtle crossing from swamp to pond or digging in the gravel of our lane is easy to see. Catching sight of the painted turtles, though, means stopping and studying the water to look for their small heads sticking out. One day when I did that, I found two muskrats floating absolutely still under the willow shrub by the culvert.

Finding ripe rasberries requires a slow walk and observant eyes. Picking at a berry farm where these fruit are cultivated is easy, prickly but not hard. At our place, they grow wild, and to find ripe ones, you have to push aside the young canes, find the ones that are bearing fruit and gently pick the ones that are ripe without knocking them to the ground. There are surprises hidden among the leaves--bees, wasps, and spiders--but I avoid them as I seek my favorite berries.

I have chosen to live in the country, but I do enjoy a walk down city streets as well. I like looking into shop windows. Seeing what a clothing shop puts forward gives ideas about what to where. The window also tells me what colours are in this year, lets me know whether it is worth shopping or not. A window full of baby blue tops and pants encourages me to just keep going.

Bookstores may put out the newest big seller, but independent booksellers will also have in their windows authors we might not otherwise hear of, books that are worth reading.

Buskers are often worth listening to. At Mariposa folk festival last year, I heard Turbo Street Funk on stage, but this great band started out as street musicians. Running across them on the sidewalk in Toronto would have been worth noticing.

And walking past a bake shop or a pizza place with windows open is a treat even if we just breathe deeply to enjoy the smell.

In the city, I always try to carry change in my pocket. Years ago, I worked in the inner city, in Toronto and Montreal, got to know some of the folks who were homeless back then. I want to notice those who have their cup out asking for change. I don't want to look past them.

I hope people enjoy this new Pokémon craze. I hope people walk more, get out with their kids, just get away from the computer screen. But I do hope the phone is in a pocket so that we all walk with our eyes, ears, noses alert to the wonders that are here in this real world we share.

Cathy Hird is a farmer, minister, and writer living near Walters Falls.


CopyRight ©2015, ©2016, ©2017 of Hub Content
is held by content creators