“Oh! How I love the fiery glow of the sunset and how I missed our quiet garden“, I said leaping out of the car after my long dredge of a commute back into the office. It has been two years since Covid shut office spaces down, and I cannot say that I missed the crowds on the trains, the noise of the city, or the snarling traffic inching along at peak times.
“I am so happy to come back to this suburban paradise from the hustling, bustling city!” I said sighing happily and taking in deep gulps of fresh air. I flitted to the rose buds starting to form, flew to the jasmine bushes sending wafts of jasmine-ly scent into the evening air, and lovingly tousled the lavender bushes. I suppose butterflies when let loose in a meadow from a bottle do the same.
I looked up to see the daughter giving me that look: the one where she is wondering whether it is prudent to have my head checked for bumps.
“I am such a country mouse my dear!” I said by way of making conversation.
“I wouldn’t want to be a cat in a world that you are a mouse, that is for sure!”, said she, never one to falter at smart quips.
I straightened my shoulders haughtily and wanted to retort. Sharply. With sarcasm, speed and humor.
I shook my head and tried to fetch some quip, anything. Nothing.
I stood there fumbling and stammering. Maybe the pace of the day had taken it all out. So, I finally laughed.
It was while I was out sauntering on a mild spring morning a few days later that I remembered the study on the pace of life in the book, In Praise of Wasting Time – By Alan Lightman.
In the book, Alan Lightman writes of the study where people’s average walking speed was measured across a decade. The speed was measured in suburban places, cities and bustling city centers. Apparently, the walking speed had increased considerably. An average woman of today in San Francisco city walks faster than an average woman in the 20th century. Makes us pause and think doesn’t it? What are we hurrying towards?
Excerpt from the book:
A momentous study by the University of Hertfordshire in collaboration with the British Council found that the walking speed of pedestrians in 32 cities around the world increased by 10% just in the 10 year period from 1995 to 2005.
How did we arrive at this point in the history of the world?
First, there is business. The pace of life has always been driven by the pace of business, and the pace of business has always been driven by the speed of communication. In 1881, in a book titled American Nervousness: its Causes and Consequences, physician George Beard noted the increase of nervousness and stress in the public caused by the new communication technologies of the day: The railroad and the telegraph. Today, its the Internet.In Praise of Wasting Time – By Alan Lightman
It is no wonder that spending time in Nature is such a soother, acting almost like an analgesic. The pace of nature hardly varies.
Like Lao Tzu says:
Nature never hurries, yet accomplishes everything.Lao Tzu