Tuesday, 16 March 2021

It comes to us all.

If we live long enough we all reach the age when, like it or not, we have to slow down.   There is a saying four legs (crawling stage), two legs (most of adult life), three legs (two legs and stick when we age).  I don't know where that leaves me - I suppose I am two legs and four wheels (Priscilla) at present.    But whatever I am I know one thing for certain.   I have slowed down. 

My teaching life was hectic - rushing from place to place,always in a hurry.   My early retirement was a pleasant, leisurely pace but still we went to many places on holiday where we rushed from place to place making sure we saw everything.   Now, of course, arthritis, old age and a broken hip later, my pace has been forcibly slowed down and frankly I don't mind all that much.

I remembered this morning that many years ago I wrote a poem about it.   At one time I wrote a lot of poetry and put it on my blog but I haven't done so for years as I suddenly realised that my 'poetry' was really not very good.   However, I found a book with my poetry in it yesterday so I put here for you today a 'poem' which tells you how I feel about being in the slow lane - like it or not - now:

 

                                Take the Slow Train.

        Take the slow train, let it wander

        through the meadows.  Count the buttercups,

        Watch the river as it glides under bridges,

        over fields.   See the sunlight on the water,

        dappling patterns through the trees.

        And listen - in the stations -

        to the birdsong in the silence.

        You'll arrive there just the same -

        only later.   And your head

        will be full of nothing more

        than the pleasant, country scene.


        Or take the fast train, the express,

        as it hurtles through the fields,

        over bridges and through stations,

        empty platforms - 'til it shudders

        to a halt.   At its final destination

        and you step out to a whirl,

        to a crowd of busy people 

        all intent on getting somewhere

        in the very shortest time.


        I'm a slow train kind of person.

        I need time to stand and stare.

        If it comes to travelling quickly

        I'm not going anywhere.

    

           

        

33 comments:

Minigranny said...

That poem expresses the benefits of slowing down so well.
I used to love the way that walking with a small child slowed me down as everything we saw had to be inspected or admired however small or insignificant it seemed.

Margie from Toronto said...

Love the poem and your outlook. I think the one benefit of this pandemic is that it has forced many of us to slow down and find different things to do to keep us connected, to keep us healthy and to keep us amused. Now, I know that doesn't apply to everyone, especially those with young children at home, but for someone in my age group (60's) - it has been interesting.

I still work PT but I'm able to do it at home - largely on my own schedule and without a 2hr commute. I have been forced to slow down simply because there isn't much to do outside my small apt. My "bubble" friend and I have become bird watchers on our walks and we have been lucky enough to see a herd of deer on multiple occasions right here in our city of 3million! We are looking forward to being able to see even more birds as they return in the Spring. We have noticed how clear the lake and local river have been and how much the local children seem to enjoy being outdoors both with their parents and with their classmates as schools also take to the outdoors.

Since I have not been able to have people in my apt. it means that I have learned how to do a few more things for myself - slowly and carefully. I finally gave in and learned how to do online banking and I have rediscovered the fun of jigsaw puzzles. So - not all bad. I hope this new knowledge stays with me as things begin to reopen and that I continue to appreciate the small things and all that I can still do and not just lament about what I can't do. Life changes and we just have to adjust.

A great post - thank you.

Rachel Phillips said...

I don't know when you wrote the poem, maybe a long time ago. I have never imagined you as a slow lane person which makes me think about how we think we know people on blogs but perhaps we don't really know them at all.

Gerry Snape said...

I find myself sitting looking out the window...thinking..nothing...I was always know as a dreamer when young..got me into trouble with school...thankyou Pat.

Sue in Suffolk said...

I've always enjoyed taking time to stand and stare and now there is plenty of time - a bit too much in fact

thelma said...

You write so well, as we age I think we all migrate to the slow lane. In fact everyone should be there and then we would not use up all the resources of the world so quickly.

JacquieB said...

Yes- I remember Adlestrop - and Flanders and Swan 'The Slow Train'. 'Time to Stand Stare'
Now we have slow television and mindfulness
The best use of time is embrace the moment and allow it to embrace us.

Heather said...

I would take the slow train every time. Your poem puts it all into perspective. I have definitely slowed down, especially in the last two years. Should I blame Covid or just the advancing years? In an effort to regain a little more mobility I have told my son that I will start shopping for myself once more - he's been doing it for me for months. We shall see!

Marcia LaRue said...

Beautifully written, Pat!! Yes ... I am a slow train person at 77 and believe I have been for a long time ... well before I hit this age!
The fast train folks just miss so much ... perhaps they will slow down one day ... perhaps they will stop and smell the roses and the coffee!

Derek Faulkner said...

Until your recent demise, I've always thought of you as a zippy kind of person, not a stand and stare one.

the veg artist said...

Demise, Derek? Thankfully, not yet.

Debby said...

I am more of a 'look around' type of person myself. My children find it hilarious. "You know how mom is always 'gawping'.

I think that it is the details that give our lives richness.

hart said...

I disagree with the not really very good. I like this one.

Derek Faulkner said...

Veg Artist - I referred to Pat's recent lack of mobility but perhaps it was the wrong word.

gz said...

I love slow trains...
Pirate, at nearly 82, is slowing down a little and doesn't appreciate it.

happy hooker said...

Definitely a slow train person. You see so much more when you're not rushing around. Speed and bustle doesn't equate to productivity. The old adage, slow and steady wins the race, is so true. By the way, that's a lovely poem. xx

Ellen D. said...

I enjoyed your poem and it has a good message - a "stop and smell the roses" kind of message! Thanks so much!

Bonnie said...

This is a lovely poem and I enjoyed it very much! It illustrates well how it is the trip and not the destination at times!

John Going Gently said...

Quite beautiful xx

gmv said...

This is such a lovely poem. I am definitely a slow train kind of person....all my life.

Virginia said...

Great poem! I love the way the clipped sentences of the last stanza slows itself down. Very clever.

I was a “pack it in” type of person, always taking on more than I should, and somehow managing to get it done. But illness and age have forced me to go much more slowly, and ‘smell the flowers’. I’m now grateful for what I can do. As others have said, Covid and its restrictions have also influenced our lives.

Susan said...

Lovely poem. Slow and steady, yet still accomplishing the goal. All the while enjoying all the sights, sounds and pleasures along the way.

The bike shed said...

How strange - as in coincidental - I was talking to Jane today about her parents and how much slower they are... and she said, 'but it's okay because they are happy to be slower and do less; they no longer want to still do all that they did before...'
And coincidental too that you posted poetry, as I was writing an essay on that topic today - I said that pure poetry blogs don't really work unless they include topical insight and reflections as a context for the poems - as of course, you've just given us.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you bike shed. In fact thank you everybody.

CharlotteP said...

I think Coronavirus and lockdowns have forced many of us to be slower train people...and in some ways, this is not a bad thing. Of course there are things I miss, but how I've savoured and look forward to, 'small' things; a really good cup of coffee, sitting on a log and watching the clouds, or making cakes for friends (even if we can't meet to eat them together!)

Tom Stephenson said...

I really liked that Weave.

Joanne Noragon said...


This was so pleasant, and so apropos. It's how I am now, and like it.

Librarian said...

With much of my social life on hold (no pub quiz, no dance nights, no eating out with my friends, no events to visit, no parties...), that part of my daily life has certainly slowed down considerably. But work has been so busy that I wish I could be on the slow train you describe, and count some buttercups!
Still, I shouldn't complain; many have lost their jobs, and I am very lucky that I do not need to worry about my financial situation.

My Mum and Dad are very much on the slow train these days, and while my Dad does not mind at all, my Mum sometimes longs for her more active days.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Hope those of you who wish to get back on the fast train before long.

Hildred said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hildred said...

Oh, I didn't really remove it, - just removed the duplicate, and then both of them disappeared!! Wanted to join in with the 'slow train' people, - it seems a fitting thing to do considering age and the present condition of society.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I'm definitely a slow train type of person.

Jayview said...

A lovely image. Don’t you think it’s also about getting a better balance of doing and being. Our societies tend to be much better and happier about doing, but perhaps COVID has required some of us to learn more about just being. I like the TSEliot ‘Teach us to care and not to care/thwack is to sit still ‘