My pastor had this response: “I like it. Slowly we die as we are absorbed by the fictional lives of others dancing before our eyes when real life is just a power button and a glance away…”
My riposte: “… and a good pair of sneakers if you’re so disposed!”
Commentary: despite my riposte, this poem is more about the first stanza than the second. Not everyone can don a pair of sneakers and join me on long hikes. But everyone can seek to live as directly as possible, fully appreciating their own God-given life and embracing God’s offer of rebirth, restoration, and eternal life. For most people, this appreciation and embracing requires a little — or a lot — of contemplation, meditation. Noise and distraction are the enemy. Compare my poem “Alone at the Lake.”
About the title: I’m not completely happy with the title. You can probably tell that I started with “Television.” From there, I started pushing on “Tele,” “Tell,” and finally landed on “Tolled.” It may be too far out there. But consider that “toll” is associated with death (“For Whom the Bell Tolls”). It also sounds like “told.” Even as the flitting and vapid* “lives” of fictional characters displayed on a television have “tolled” our dying, and have “told” us the bad news, nature itself has “told” us about better news, the hope of resurrection. A big stretch, I know! This is my blurry vision, and now I have told you.
*This needs work. I do think there is something of “the medium is the message” in this. In television, we have lives that are extinguished with the press of a button.