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Summer is the perfect time to slow down

| Thursday, July 4, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Slow movin' Our friend Ray White of Wayne Township is well known for the art work that appears on his farm and which is made of simple materials, most often including hay. He recently dropped off this photo of one of his creations, a slow-moving (well, really not moving at all) turtle seemingly stepping out of his pond. A perfect summertime setting, and we thought it would go well with today's Meandering.

If you gonna read this then be prepared for a counterculture rant.

I have “ranted” this way before and nobody is paying attention, so now, as they said in the 1976 movie “Network”: “I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.”

Here's the complaint: It is way past time for us to slow down.

Here is an example of what I mean: A couple of times on my way to work I have had to force my heart from my mouth back into my chest when a young guy in a little car has raced down the road, nearly crossing over into my oncoming lane as he tried to negotiate a curve.

Sure, I was a kid once, in the age of hot rods and drag racing, but I did not own such a car and did not race about in the egg-timer I drove.

One learns a sense of responsibility to his/ her fellow drivers – a respect for life, really.

The young driver could take a lesson. Where could he possibly be going, or is it just a testosterone thing? Does he not know he would look a lot cooler if he slowed down and let his growling engine do the talking? A lower gear should do it.

But my real complaint is with the apparent need for speed in all that we do – not just driving our cars and trucks.

I can't help but conclude that it would be much better for our health, both mental and physical, if we would all SLOW DOWN at least a little.

The key to this is the under appreciated trait of patience.

Some rush because they are late for some event in their lives – anything from their own wedding to just average days at work. There is always an excuse for the mad dash; but when you really think about it the speeders simply have no sense of time.

To them I say: Be mindful, just start getting ready earlier, more leisurely, relax, don't try to do 10 things in five minutes, just do one. It requires a little patience, but the payoff is that you might enjoy it.

I blame TV for much of this unfortunate haste. TV rushes through commercial pronouncements, the plots of stories and the presentation of the news to list just a few things. Programming for kids is downright frenzied. How can that be good for them now of in their futures?

There is an old saying that military folks have heard often. “Hurry up and wait.”

For many today, that is a horrible idea. They don't mind the hurry part, but the waiting is about enough to push them over the edge. What if they didn't hurry, and used the time in an efficient yet purposeful manner.

Time can be our friend, if we just learn to befriend it.

For lack of something more interesting being on TV on a recent night, I watched the end of the movie “Beaches,” in which as everyone knows Barbara Hershey's character dies. In a telling scene, she and her lifetime best friend played by Bette Midler sit quietly together in chairs on the porch of a beach home.

They don't speak as the sun goes down and children play on the sand.

We all have such moments, but do we speed to get to them?

This is vacation season, and I can't help but wonder how many of us are racing – at home or at work – to get the “ducks in a row” to make relaxation happen later.

And therein forget the unspoken message of the moment between the “Beaches” characters.

We will all get where we are going. We need to slow down and enjoy the ride there.

Now if somebody will just tell that teen driver!

Speaking of vacations, I am off next week and – I hope – moving even slower than usual. No column for July 12.

Our counterculture slogan: “Turtles rule (and live longer)!”

Meandering appears Fridays. To share your thoughts on this column (or on most anything) with News Editor Mike O'Hare, write to the Leader Times, P.O. Box 978, Kittanning, PA 16201 or via e-mail to

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