If there is anything at all that can be said of this generation, this era, this time, is that it is fast. Everything is flying by at top speed in a sort of whirlwind that is oh so hard to avoid…if you want to that is. Internet is fast. “Food” can be crazy fast. Communication and the relay of information is immediate if nothing else. Children and adults move from one class, store, or lesson to another all day everyday quick as can be. Gadgets and gizmos line the pockets, ears, and dashboards of even the youngest of souls instilling speed as a baseline for functioning. The need for immediate results and high speed everything is simply “normal”.
The speed of this time seems to work against the goals and desires that we have for our family and especially the childhood we envision for our little ones. Now this isn’t to say that I write off all the advantages of the high-speed technological advances available. I love high-speed internet, and more especially a laptop with wireless connection, digital cameras that upload pictures quickly, the blogging community, and several other momentarily forgotten things I’m sure. Using the speed of our time to our advantage we can actually slow down our life to allow for the freedom, naturalness, creative exploration, and tied to the earth goodness. By slowing down and carefully filtering “speed” I believe that we bring more enrichment and lasting goodness to the lives that seem to be flying by in front of us as it is. Childhood is so fleeting in nature as it is. No need to speed it up!
Though we slow our lives to a pace that is comfortable for all of us we do so enjoy exploring times that moved at an even slower pace. A short drive into the heart of New York state is the Genesee County Village and Museum. It is a marvelous (albeit slightly expensive!) place to explore, slow down, learn, savor, and reflect. We learn so much when we visit, and although we are happy to bring our speedy and flashy big red stroller, we enjoy each moment stepped away from the speed it implies and the calm reflection and wonder in the homes and shops. The visit highlighted here was one of the hottest and most humid days of the summer. We were each hot and sticky and wonderfully happy!
The kidlings were so enthralled with the stories of the past that filled each place we visited. Their big eyes took in all that was around them and questions never ceased escaping their lips. They found value and wonder in all they encountered because it was presented as something of value and truly wonderful. Indeed it was a wonderful day of learning and exploration. They especially loved the animals (and most especially the magnificent oxen), the printing press, the potter, the rustic cabin, the tinsmith, the animal barn….! Though I found so much to be emulated and learned from I was especially caught up in (this time) the patterns I saw everywhere. On the walls, on the floors, on the beds…the patterns and designs were so beautiful to me. I felt connected to the women and mothers so long past that worked with their hands to improve and beautify their homes for themselves and their families just as I try so hard to do in my own life.
It was a beautiful day of stepping back, slowing down, and basking in the grace of a simpler time.
‘Tis a gift to be simple.