Thursday, January 01, 2015

Pick Your Pace, Find Your Place

Every week, usually on a Thursday but sometimes on a Wednesday, Christine and I walk to our favorite breakfast spot, The Issaquah Cafe. It's two miles from our home and we always walk. While there are faster ways in which we might cover this distance, we have no desire to rush. Walking is companionable and convivial to conversation. We have the time and take the time to enjoy being together and to not just note but to experience the place we are living. Our world is familiar, but every morning is new.

On our walk yesterday we talked of pace and how it informs our experience of place. It is tempting to rush because life is fleeting but often it is on our slow journeys that we discover what Dar Williams called "the gift of what you notice more."

I continue to think of pace and place when I am out on an afternoon scooter trip to Lake Sammamish Park. I'm often asked what I find so fascinating about the scooter and I've concluded that a big part of the appeal is the pace. On the scooter I experience the world at about twice my walking speed, which is about half my bicycling speed. More precisely I should say that my scootering spans the range between walking and biking speed. I can, with effort, exert myself up to bursts of biking speed and, of course, when the world slopes down, I coast. But I find, often, that I slow my scooter to the exact pace of walking for various purposes including conversation, courtesy, or contemplation. Going too slow on a bicycle feels too slow, the machine needs a certain amount of motion to make its way in the world. That's a fine way to travel but I've found much to love in the middle way I'm exploring by scooter. On the scooter I am literally only one step from walking at any moment and I find that quite liberating.

This is hair ice. This is only the second time in my life I've seen it. If, I'd been on my bike, I probably would have rolled right past it. If I'd been walking, I wouldn't have gotten out this far. You pick your pace and find your place.

I'm not big on New Year's resolutions, as Will Shortz once noted if you think of a way to improve your situation there's no need to wait for a certain date on the calendar to take action, but I do intend to keep exploring the world in various ways, at various paces.

I hope you have a fascinating 2015 and that you find paces and places to love.
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