Monday, February 24, 2014

Slow down!

Today, I drove back to Putnam County, where I used to live for a dear friend's Mother's funeral.  I have lived in the city now for almost 11 years but I so love getting back to the country.  I just need to make sure that I'm doing it more than just for funerals.

The farther I get from the city, the more I'm noticing the changes.  It's not just the scenery changing from the urban buildings to sprawling farm fields.  As I left the interstate, I noticed that people are moving at a slower pace.  They seem more relaxed.

In all honesty, I'm not sure if I noticed this more because I was allowing my mind to wander as I made the long drive out there or if I was just thinking and reminiscing about a wonderful woman and the laid back time we spent at her farm sledding down her hill in the winter or spending time at the ball fields with her while my daughters played softball with her granddaughters.  Opal was a truly wonderful, fun, adventurous woman whom I was fortunate to have the opportunity to know.

The service was very sweet and quite a tribute.  As we left the funeral home, we drove across Greencastle, a very quaint small town (although small, it is the biggest town in Putnam County) and continued out of town, each road we turned on more rural than the last.  It was probably about 20 minutes from the funeral home to the cemetery.  

What struck me most about the drive to the cemetery was the respect shown by random strangers on the road.  By that, I mean that as the procession headed to the cemetery, I saw NO moving vehicles other than those in the procession.  I was about three-fourths of the way back in the line and it was amazing to see the respect shown to the group.  The police blocked off ONE intersection right at the edge of town, otherwise, they didn't block streets. 
Why is that?  Because in the country, everyone stops for a funeral.  They get as far off the road as they can and they STOP.  This is done as a sign of respect for the dearly departed.  And it is something that I was shocked to see not being done in the city.  I do it but a lot of people honk at me, yell at me and worse but it was how I was raised.  

It brought tears to my eyes to be moving with the procession and as I crested each hill or rounded each corner to see cars, trucks, semi's, farm vehicles, everyone, pulled to the side of the road and stopped until the entire funeral procession passed.  No honking.  No yelling.  Just quiet respect.

Today, although I said good bye to a very lovely woman, I was able to reconnect with some dear old friends.  I also had a needed reminder to to slow down.  Appreciate those around us.  Appreciate taking the time to enjoy what is around us.  In the city, people tend to rush, rush, rush.  Everyone is in a hurry.  No one slows down to really see their surroundings let alone to enjoy them.

So to everyone out there, I hope that you will take a minute to slow down and appreciate the people and things that are around you.  Learn to really look at things.  There is beauty in the  city just as in the country if you take the time to see it!

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