Finding the Time to Stop

Someone told me recently that when something is difficult, it means it’s worth doing. The easy way, the comfortable way, is usually the least fruitful and rewarding. Come to think of it, that ‘someone’ may have been a character on a Bravo-produced reality TV show. Nevertheless, these words ring especially true for those of us with wandering spirits… sometimes finding the time to stop is more difficult than hopping on a train to the China-North Korean border (okay, maybe that’s just me).

This week, I’ve been compiling examples of stopping, of paying attention. The first is from photographer Aaron Huey’s walk across the United States. Aaron walked alone, with only a cart of his belongings and his dog Cosmo. Of one of the days of his journey, he wrote:

No this isn't one of Huey's photos (his are much, much better - check out his site). This is a shot I took with real film (back in the day) when my husband and I drove cross country from Philadelphia to San Francisco in the summer of 2003.

On old 65 there is no traffic. There are rock shops on the side of the road. Rock shops are under appreciated. The things I find in them never cease to amaze me. I have said that I want a wall sized picture of the millions of universes, in one good geode you can see the same thing, concentric circles and crystals fitting together in some secret story, the great story of creation that we have not yet found the words for, just stare into those stones and you will see the same thing that the Hubble Telescope sees. I pick them up and dream.

All this week I have seen butterflies dying on the side of the road. I have not stopped to ease their pain. What is happening in those last minutes for them. Do they contemplate death? Should I kill them? I have not because I want their wings to flap a few more times. To move the air in subtle ways that a semi cannot, and those subtle movements will someday meet others and move whole fields of grass, and build storm clouds and carry birds and blow other butterflies into car windshields to lay dying on the side of the road to flap their wings a few more times. Just a few more. Like the wings write poetry. I want more poetry so I do not make mercy killings when I see the dying butterflies.

If you don't know what this means, click on the link.

Then there’s all this necessary talk of Kony and the Invisible Children of Uganda. If you haven’t seen the video, I implore you to click on the link. And yes, I know, we also mustn’t forget the Visible Children here in the US too. Either way, I’m relieved to see both discussions so visibly on Facebook, Twitter, and throughout the Internets.

If only our oceans were this clean and chock full of life. Thanks for dreaming, Dreamworks.

On a lighter note, there’s Dreamworks’s Andrew Stanton telling a good story about telling a good story in a recent Ted talk. For all you story tellers out there, you must see this.

And finally, a reminder that often it’s the mistakes in life that actually get us on the ‘right’ path, as elaborated in this blog post Tripping into Terra Incognita.

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About Kaitlin Solimine

Kaitlin Solimine was raised in New Hampshire but has considered China a second home for the past two decades. She is the author of the award-winning forthcoming novel Empire of Glass and co-founder of Hippo Reads, a media start-up connecting academic insights with real world issues. She lives in Singapore.
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