birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

The Physics of Slow

I had to slow down. I had to get away from the grind. Maybe I had just been so wound up that the loosening of tension had me whipping and spinning, and that the slowdown was not really brakes but some law of physics playing out quite naturally.

Slowing down means taking the pressure off. It means doing less. It means stopping certain things and extricating oneself from others. It means pushing or removing deadlines. It’s putting some ideas on hold and or bringing them in for analysis.

Pulling back for me was maybe also in sync with the darkness. It slows me. And perhaps contributes to a mild depression, which is what a slowdown is, pretty much. Or, call it an existential energy challenge.

Another way to think of it was dropping out, which sounds pretty bad except if it we’re talking about the 1960s. But I don’t know if people can drop out anymore. Smartphones probably make dropping out 30x more difficult, but also 30x more a good idea.

But to think that the work we do for a wage should get all this glorious productivity out of us. Heck yeah, slow that down. I have other stuff I want to do. I want to figure out how to bring up some better levels. Slow down and become a host log for an exciting fungus convention, maybe that’s my level. Let something else within you, or maybe outside of you take over a little, but don’t let it cut off your oxygen. Move slowly so you can stay aware that this other thing does not become a threat.

Slowing down could mean achieving a cruising altitude. Physics was my worst subject (and now to be referencing it twice in one passage here!), but I’ve got this idea that cruising altitude for a plane seems slower than the ascending. But that’s maybe just because less resistance with having gravity work with you. Not that gravity is a slow thing. Actually, no it is not slow to drop anything.

When I slowed down I got away from where I was, and away from my things. I spent time alone and focused on breathing. I read books slowly and wrote in a journal very fast. Slowing down was bubbling over, actually, but just slow in my productivity for others. Slow in my social life, but replenishing my inner life. I slowed down on food and started to fast.

This slowdown was an emergency brake as I watched my parents either in retirement or pre-retirement, and thinking about what it is one does in retirement. And what ways life could be better right now, rather than dreaming of a time when the hustle-bustle is more my speed. And I don’t think know if there’s such a thing as balance. Sounds like physics again, that time for the energy to unwind one coil so it can wind up another. Or for the mushrooms to engulf you.

Bush Over A Shrub