I’ve taken “slow the f down” as a slightly tongue-in-cheek personal mission for more than a decade…
Today, after reading about the third accident that closed the highway in as many weeks, in the paper, and of many people sharing stories of scary incidents on the road this summer, with vehicles passing inappropriately, speeding excessively, losing loads, of fatalities, of massive traumas, I felt moved to share these words from a Nigerian writer, Bayo Akomalafe.
These times are urgent. We must slow down.
Akomalafe writes so richly, I usually have to re-read his words several times, but I find they’re worth slowing down for:
More than just reducing speed within the same order and arrangement of things, slowing down is meeting the imperatives of other temporalities disrupting the linear continuity and taken-for-grantedness of modern militaristic time. The only place to do that is at the crossroads. Where are the crossroads? Everywhere around us, in us. There is no dot, no line, that is not already cross-hatched, shimmering with the manifold. So, investigate the resolute boundatires between things. Like ants sniff out pheremone trails, follow the grief and the moaning to where it might lead.
Treat your children like elder philosophers. Pray to your food as it is eaten. Give art/tension to this world of vibrant agencies which modernity has attempted to tame and hush. And it will come alive and burn like a reignited bonfire.
Perhaps we can all start painting pictures of snails and installing them on alongside the roads here…