Walk a Turtle

I recently read a book that had a scene that got me thinking. The main female character was always working and failing to take time for herself. The male character mentions a fad in 19th-century Paris where it was fashionable to go on a walk with a turtle. In the book, it is a metaphor to remind the characters to slow down and take in their surroundings and enjoy life.

I did a bit of research online as I was curious about how this trend was started and in a long-convoluted reading of several different articles, was mention of Edgar Allan Poe’s story The Man of the Crowd. A story in which there is an observer, an old man, and a city. At the end of the story, the observer stands in the path of the old man who ignores him and walks on. What this story tells us is the old man is so wrapped up in what he is doing, he fails to see what is around him.

This story along with several painters of the time sparked a movement of men, labeled flȃneurs, in Paris who became critics of industrialization and how fast the culture in Paris was changing.

So why am I writing a blog post about this? As my husband and I are close to becoming empty nesters, who have lived a fast life these past few years with an active teenager, it is a much-needed reminder that we need to take time to slow down. Take time for yourself, time to go somewhere you have never been, visit the uniquely odd roadside attractions near you, and most of all take time out of your life to “walk a turtle.”

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