Saturday, June 27, 2009

Slow down and look around…

By Pat Remick

As I was driving out of my neighborhood recently, I spotted a police car parked alongside the road a short distance ahead. I quickly pumped my brakes to meet the 20 mph speed limit. I was relieved to escape without sirens or flashing lights following me.

But it did seem like an odd location to monitor speeders. Maybe a second patrol car would be waiting when I turned onto the main roadway, hoping to catch those who believed they were in the clear and had resumed driving faster than they should. So I drove slowly (OK, the speed limit) down that road, too.

When I rounded the curve, I saw a large deer sprint across the road a few yards ahead. But I almost didn’t see the tiny fawn struggling to keep up with it. The baby was only a few feet tall and still had its camouflage spots. Had I been driving my usual speed, I might have killed that beautiful animal.

This realization was frightening -- and a gift. It was another reminder of how important it is to slow down and appreciate the world around us. Twice in the previous week I'd noticed new things along my regular routes – a tiny cemetery tucked between two houses along a busy thoroughfare one day and lovely gardens hugging a fence near another home a few days later.

Has this ever happened to you -- noticing something for the first time even though you've walked or driven past it many times before? Think about the routes you travel in a normal day or week. Do you see – I mean really see – the buildings and views along the way? Is it possible you’re missing things in your world? This week, try slowing down to take a closer look. You might be surprised at what you find.

PS: When I drove back into the neighborhood two hours later, the police car had not moved. Given the limited number of patrol cars in my community, it's unusual for a cruiser to be parked at one location so long. Suspecting that something major was going on, I pulled alongside the patrol car to ask. The officer didn't acknowledge me. I looked closer. Still no response. Imagine my surprise when I finally realized it was a mannequin behind the wheel. Maybe I'd have noticed if I'd slowed down and looked around in the first place.


Anonymous said...

Hi Pat,

First time visitor. Nice blog site. Its all about perspective and sometimes going back a second time (like you did with the police car) to notice what you originally thought was reailty was something entirely different. There is inspiration for writers at every turn. One just has to slow down and look at their surroundings.

- Stephen Tremp

queenofmean said...

True about perspective. Since I'm also an amatuer photographer, I notice things other people either don't see or pay little attention to. Occasionally, I will come across something I didn't notice on my daily travels and think 'I've got to get a picture of that.'

Pat said...

You are so right baout there is indeed inspiration for writers at every turn.

And I think a photographic eye is keener than most. Event though I was a reporter in my former life, and reporters are trained to be observant, I realize that sometimes I'm too busy rushing places to really see things. The near-encounter with the deer was quite a wake-up call!

Patg said...

POV IS everything, not just writing though it comes into discussion and under more scrutiny in the writing profession--and the other arts.
That's why when agents and editors blow something off because they don't get it, it tends to tell you how much objectivity is lacking from only using one POV.
I'm known for not quite seeing things like others. Not that I'm on the opposite side or viewpoint, but if the provailing POV is high noon, I tend to be 5 of or 5 after.