Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Slow City Movement

"Slow down, you're moving too fast..."
~Simon & Garfunkel, Feelin' Groovy

In February our friend Mario from Italy sent me a link to a blog entry about the Slow City movement. I finally slowed down enough to look into it. And it's pretty interesting.

Actually, the Slow City movement is an attempt to get whole cities to participate in the Slow movement. You may be familiar with some of the siblings in this family of attitudes: Slow Travel, Slow Food, Slow Books, Slow Living.

Personally there is a lot of attraction to these attitudes. I know that when Susie and I travel, we like Slow Travel. Art galleries, museums, nice restaurants all take time, and that's what a vacation is in our book. My brother and his wife take the reverse course, Power Vacation where they seem dedicated to taking in as many experiences as possible. "While we're here we might as well cram in the Bahrumba Cliff Hike and do the Bungees over on the next peak." More power to 'em.

I like reading, but slow reading is certainly the best way to savor a page of quality prose. It's like fine wine versus Ripple. People drinking Ripple aren't doing it for the flavor, it's about how fast you can get slammed. The same with reading. It should not be about how many books you can read in a year so you can win a contest. Reading for pleasure includes pauses to roll images and ideas around in the mind, to chew and digest... and like a cow chewing its cud, resume chewing.

According to the Slow City Manifesto, no city larger than 50,000 can be part of this movement. Minneapolis is out. Philadelphia is out. Even our little corner of the world, Duluth, is out. This doesn't mean we can't individually pursue Slow Living.

The trademark or emblem of the movement is an orange snail with a crown made of modern buildings. That could be interesting. (I once wrote an article that began with the opening line, "Which is slower, a snail, a glacier, or a piece of legislation through congress?")

Life at a snail's pace might be a good thing, though right now I'm kinda busy and don't have a lot of time to think about it.

For sure when we slow down we experience our surroundings more. The marshlands, the trees, the fields and outcroppings of rock in our rural areas make a far greater impact when you walk through them than when you fly past them on the highway. Last Sunday for Mother's Day we went to Carlton Bike Rental and took a lazy ride up the trail to Jay Cooke State Park. There are 63 miles of bike trail starting from this location, and I've been told they will be connecting yet more trail to it from the headwaters of the Mississippi, so it's easy to see why they're staking a claim that Minnesota Starts Here.

In the meantime, enjoy your day. Don't forget to take a moment now and then to stop and smell the roses.


cacherskirl said...

I liked the part about slow reading. I should tell my girlfriend about that - she can read a book in a day! Wheras I still haven't finished Lord of the Rings...

Nice post. Thought provoking.


ENNYMAN said...

Reading fast has its place... but savoring a slow read is sweet. Esp. poetry, and an exquisite haiku. It's hard to imagine reading a book of haiku quickly.

Thanks for the visit and feedback.

JOE TODD said...

Ed enjoyed your blog I think I'll have an easy slow day

ENNYMAN said...

You do that. Thanks for moseying on by.