By the campfire, beneath the stars, a peculiar thing happens to the tone of conversation you have with others. Be mindful that these “others” are the same people you barely spoke to throughout the preceding car ride. Without noise and distraction, people open up. They share their existential questions, admit their failings and fears, give voice to their unique opinions, and listen to you hungrily.
The world beyond the edge of the woods communicates almost exclusively in shorthand. Only quips, catch-phrases, and digital micro-messages seem to find purchase against the torrent of data that overwhelms real discourse. Read the literature of the past and compare it to the literature of today as a measure. Exploration of the profound has been replaced by one-liners and whole philosophies are distilled to mere slogans.
Except, that is, in the woods. By the campfire. Beneath the stars.
The value of intimate, deep exchanges can be reclaimed by looking for opportunities to engage in the “big” conversations. Rather than letting a statement of opinion fall flat, ask a follow-up question. Rather than making a pithy retort, open the conversation with a comment meant to promote dialogue rather than end it. And prepare for those all-to-few quiet moments so that you might seize the opportunity to share yourself with those you love.
Our minds and hearts will no longer need the big conversations only when the big questions are all answered and big feelings no longer stir us. Go deep whenever the opportunities present themselves. The shallows of modern communication will still be there when you get back.