Senan Of Somerset

My Path

ctrl-alt-del

“have you tried switching it off and on again…”

In the work environment nothing elicits frustration and possibly bad language quicker than a locked computer, a frozen mouse or a blank screen…

I’ve been working with computer systems for over 40 years and can boast of using ferrite core memory, punched cards and languages that sound more like chemical additives that you would find in an ingredients list on some brightly coloured sweet snack… cobol, fortran and teco to name a few.

I can remember spending hours writing code to make a white dot move across a black screen; now you simply move a mouse pointer to an appropriate point on a screen and a menu magically appears. Incidentally, 40 years ago, if you had shouted out that you had a “frozen mouse”, a call to the vermin controller would have been made, accompanied by a few sarcastic comments about the heating system!

I have been lucky to have just returned from a regular visit to Lee Abbey (North Devon, UK) to help in the woods at one of their working parties. Periodically I sense in my own soul that my being is heading for a “frozen mouse moment”. For a computer, a simple restart can often solve the problem. For the human soul it is perhaps a little more involved.

From my own point of view, solitude, silence or some quiet music often soothes a troubled and teeming mind. But for a full restart, I find, like the computer, a combination of “keystrokes” are required…

ctrl-alt-del.

Physical labour, the forest and the sounds and sights of the sea seem to always clear my head and refresh my soul.

At this point I can almost hear the shouts of, “its not possible for me to drop everything and disappear into the woods for a week!” True. Normally neither can I, but I can spend 5 minutes in silence remembering the sounds, the sights and the smells of those places.

The woods and the sea are my ctrl-alt-del. It is unlikely that they are yours. Your personal ctrl-alt-del is something that has to be sought and discerned and may well take some time. But I would say it is well worth the search. So as we approach the busy times of elections, Christmas and new year, can I encourage you to try and find your own combination of things to help prevent a frozen mouse.

Other “My Path” articles