I recently finished the book In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honoré. Nearly everyone interested in sustainable living has heard of the Slow Food movement by now, but Honoré talks about how the concept of slowness can also be extended to other aspects of our lives – work, healthcare, city planning, etc. It’s a really interesting read.
The idea of slowness in definitely relevant to appreciating the natural world. Think about what a vast difference between taking a brisk hike through the woods from point A to point B, and following the same path on a much slower ramble with camera and binoculars in hand. The former would certainly be good exercise and you’d probably enjoy the scenery along your walk, but until you give yourself permission to slow down and stop regularly for a closer look at a flower or spider or whatever, you’re not actually going to learn very much about your surroundings.