Sunday, May 31, 2009

Slow down and look around…

As I was driving out of my neighborhood yesterday, 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.

No comments: