Do our lives seem to be moving faster and at a more hectic pace or are we cycling on the shallow edge of life? Our news and information arrives in short blips and headlines, we have less and less time to read a good book and we find ourselves running from task to menial task without taking a breath to reflect on anything deeper than surface level.
I was speaking to my daughter about an upcoming school trip she has where for one week she must leave her phone behind. She was absolutely baffled for a moment about the absurdity of the concept and how life as she knows it will not be the same. We all need a holiday like that from time to time. Life is waiting.
Day 7 of 365
Big cities have this way of resembling beehives, busy, constantly moving. Most of these urban centers are jarring, fast, harsh, noisy, and unforgiving to all that is slow. Not Shanghai. Shanghai has a gentle flow about it, where people just glide by on their bicycles, slow enough to examine life around them and nod with recognition at friends in their neighborhood. A bicycle and tricycle culture, so much is moved around on wheels. As long as tradition lasts, this will be (at least to me) the greatest charm of Shanghai.
There will always be an empty bench along the way
When living life feels like riding a fast train and impressions start colliding on all sides of us blinding us to who we are, then perhaps it would be wise to stop and reassess our location. Clarity comes from knowing where we are and who we are, stopping while the world blurs away around us because how else are we ever going to see clearly?
Time is but a relative concept~ cyclist~ Shanghai
As I began to get very inspired by artists and photographers who mastered the art of blur, I decided to give it a go and experiment with it in both dslr camera and iPhone. It took me on a journey today thinking about motion, time, vision, impressions and how they all come together in a magical dance to capture that special moment when time can be slowed down and dragged slowly to transport us through portals between the two worlds of now and then. Time is a very relative concept if we think about it and I often do. We feel it slowing down, speeding up, and standing still depending on our mental process. Last summer I had a near fatal car accident while driving the car very fast on a Germany autoban and the moments between the time the tire exploded and the car eventually coming to a stop after bumping along the side the highway felt like a slow eternity. The world just stopped and all became a clear blur if that makes any sense. There was more room for thinking slowly and calmly and the regular rules no longer applied.
So time, elastic, not fixed, blurry edges, enigmatic, just like life itself.
Speed is definitely a word I would associate with New York, sometimes to the level of being dehumanized. I remember times when I received phone calls at work and hung up 2 seconds later because I thought the person on the other line was speaking too slowly. Other times when I called more relaxed places I had to always ask if they were sick and why they spoke in such a strange way. New York can do that to you and it normally takes quite a while to slow your street walk back to match the speed of pedestrians in other cities. As for your inner peace in a whirlwind like this, it becomes a priority to achieve and to guard.
rushing into the future
With 2 days left in my 365 project, I realize how incredibly fast this year has gone by. It always amazes me how elastic time is and how differently it can be perceived. Having a holiday can go by so fast while waiting for a holiday to come can last forever. Watching children grow is another fast train. With the coming of the year of the dragon, I realize that 6 years have passed since our move to China and how Lea moves so fast into her future in front of my unbelieving eyes.
January 2nd was a day of airports and airplanes and naturally jet lag. For me feeling a jet lag and being out of sorts for a few days after a plane ride is a certain indication that humans were never meant to travel that fast across the globe. The way things used to be for us hundreds of years ago seems to be the more gentle and natural way to move around, on horseback, walking, on rafts, boats, even sailing. As much as we enjoy technological advances, something about them always has the hint of alien attached to it…
to walk in the avenue of change
I was looking in a drawer the other day and I came across an old phone (the palm 650), I carried it in my hand and felt stunned at its weight, bulkiness and clumsy appearance. This was my dream phone only 2 years ago because it had a keyboard for writing emails. And I realized 3 phones later and several ‘i’ gadgets since, that the speed at which technology is developing is astounding. If we don’t stop to examine it, we can almost miss it. As soon as you get your mind wrapped around your new and unbelievably futuristic ipad, you feel uncool to be seen with it since the far cooler ipad 2 is now out!
It is a cause of so much concern actually to see what kind of world and at what staggering speed we are leading our children into their digital future. I wonder if someone was to to go to a desert island for a few years without any contact to the outside world and come back, what kind of impression will this fast changing world have on them and how will they cope?
photo taken: Lea walking over a Chinese character stencil on the street in Pudong
As a mother of an only daughter, I am fascinated with the differences between boys and girls and their varying natures. From a very early age, boys seem to be more ‘on the go’. It is as though they are always late for some appointment, they want to get there faster. I am almost certain it was a man who first invented the wheel and the practical woman who showed him how it works! But yes, boys love cars, planes, motorcycles, boats, speed…
photo: Little Leo with his truck in Marienbaum, Germany