The Day The Internet Died

By Green River Preserve

Today I saw an enormous black snake. Its body warped around a concrete slab below the Mentor Lodge, its face dangling over what looked like a mouse hole. We watched each other for a long time, until I realized I might be interrupting some important reptile business. So I let it be.

That’s one of the best parts of living in the forest: you never know what magical encounters you’ll have with wildlife. As we like to remind our campers, out here we’re in the animals’ living room. We’ve been thinking about that lesson a lot since Tuesday, when our internet first gave out for mysterious reasons.

Our cable company came out later that evening. They did some tests. It wasn’t a technical error, they said. So the crack squad of investigators followed our cable line out into the woods.

And that’s when they found it: a piece of cable punctured with two big bite marks. Sometime during the night, it was clear, an unidentified woodland creature had gnawed our internet cable in half. Twice. The investigators cut out the affected strip and returned it to us as a souvenir.

I, for one, find this hilarious. But it is also inconvenient. We value being connected to our camper families, our school groups, and to a lesser extent, our online two-day delivery service. It’s a bummer. We wish we could be offering help over email, coordinating our Road Show events, and ordering more moss identification guides.

But we also value the unexpected gifts of an internet outage, like more personal conversations. Like using paper and pens. Working together, face-to-face. Taking time to think. Planning ahead.

So over the next few weeks, as our cable company organizes, negotiates, approves, digs, and finally installs our new rodent/bear/turtle-proof internet cable, we look forward to talking with you on the phone. We look forward to reading your letters, to working outside with the wasps and Whip-poor-wills, and to welcoming many of you in person this weekend at our Farm Feast celebration. (My superiors inform me that we can also Fax, though without internet access I cannot be sure what this technology does.)

By now you must be thinking, “But hey! How are you posting on the blog?” That’s a great question. We are lucky to have kind neighbors here in the valley, including a few staff, who do have access to the internet at home. While we won’t be able to visit often, as we’re hosting school groups for two more weeks, we will get updates to you when we can.

As loyal friends of GRP, you may also be curious about what on Earth ate our internet. Was it a skunk? A beaver? An ambitious mushroom? Please join me next week for a semi-scientific, completely Google-free investigation into this very question. I’ll be posting this and other updates here on our blog.

The rest of the time we will be climbing mountains, exploring caves, and seeking the joy of being alive.

Unplugged,

Avery

Photo: These girls from Ashley Hall in Charleston are suspects #1-5 in the wire-chewing case, due to suspicious levels of fun without internet.