Tuesday, 22 May 2012


Life is so fast. I've really started to think about this recently.
On Friday I was sitting in a lay-by on the edge of the A38, a busy dual carriageway in Devon at peak time..around 6pm.
While I waited for Hugh to fiddle around with the surfboard he had strapped on to the roof, I just kind of gazed out at the traffic in an unfocussed sort of way and suddenly I felt as if I was in some sort of Dr Who style parallel universe. Its hard to explain. When I glanced at the road ahead and the cars moving away from me, everything seemed pretty normal, but when I looked out the side window at the cars moving directly past, things started to get scarey. Maybe its because I live in a wood where things are kinda slow, but suddenly the speed was terrifying. Try it sometime. Stand at the edge of a busy road and don't look left or right, just let the vehicles run past your eyes, and you get a true impression of just how quickly we drive.

Humans aren't actually meant to move that fast.

 I knew that already, but I hadn't felt it before. We're really not. We can run, and walk and stroll and creep and swim and skip and dance, but cars, they just make us go faster than we should. It makes us do things we don't need to, just because we can. Like just nipping somewhere unnecessary, like taking a job with a long commute just because we can....
Sitting there in the lay-by, it didn't seem possible that there were living, breathing, feeling human beings in these metal boxes shooting past. Of course, five minutes later when Hugh had finally finished adjusting his surfboard, we launched ourselves back onto the road at 70 miles an hour dashing down to Cornwall, and we were still feeling sentient beings, and yet.....There is something very dehumanising and frankly odd about this daily strapping ourselves into fast, isolating containers and hurtling around. The thing is, it's so easy not to think about it because it's just become part of our daily routine
 Our lives are so fast and each day we cram more and more in until we feel burnt out, stressed, irritable and conscious of an uneasy feeling that things were not really meant to be that way.
Are we happy with them being that way?
Are you happy? I know I'm not.
For thousands of years horses have been as fast as we've moved .

The wind on our skin, the scents of spring on the air, the colour of a butterfly's wing and the voice of our friends on the path, the blood pumping through our hearts.
 Not in a car.
When I was 15 a friend pointed out that once you get behind a car window it feels ok to stare at people, to criticise people we see, to shout at them for some perceived driving weakness. The glass screen makes it ok. Them and us.
Oh dear I'm about to run out of battery and I'm rushing to finish this post..rush rush rush rush.

I feel a bit odd writing this as we have a car, which one or both of us uses most days. I guess we're all on a journey `to do the best we can and awareness of the problem is the first step.
We're moving towards the second step.......but that involves some information I can't divulge for a little while longer.
 Until then I'm planning to walk when I can.
Stop when I can.
Breathe when I can....well actually all the time.
Be still when I can.

How about you? Do you thrive on speed or yearn for slow? 


  1. I am working on the slow, going fast makes me grumpy these days I find. I love the days when you can take time to immerse yourself in what you are doing rather than rushing around and not feeling you have achieved anything.

  2. Hi, I really enjoyed your post. I live on a remote island off Skye, and life runs slowly, apart from my husbands work, which is the opposite! When we go and visit family in Lancashire, it takes us a while to get used to the pase of life, everyone is in a rush, is angry etc, and although we enjoy some things on holiday, it's great to get back on the ferry! xx

  3. Yay for slow...thankyou for your comments.....yes Julie I think when you live in a quiet, slow place you become even more sensitized to rush when you encounter it!

  4. I am totally agree with you henrietta great ideas you have shared..
    Thank you for post..

    Herbal Tea

  5. I love the slow paced life. Time to listen to the birds and watch the bees. Time to be still and ground myself to the earth.

    Love your post.

  6. Thanks herbal tea and nettle juice, it feels so right when things are slow doesn't it?


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