Festina Lente - Octavius

January 29, 2009
By Minsup Lee BRONZE, Saltsburg, Pennsylvania
Minsup Lee BRONZE, Saltsburg, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Purple, red, and yellow-neon signs like a dancing rainbow compete for my attention and the fast music quickens my steps to match the rhythm of others. I'm on Gang Nam Street, one of the most crowded and popular in my hometown of Seoul. Bars, coffee shops, and movie theaters line up in rows and serve as local watering holes for people from all walks of life. Hundreds of different people pass through me every day and I take in their essence, reflecting on who they are, feeling the connection of a community, and surmising that their destinations are as varied as the way they look. One thing draws us together: the lure of this street where we walk, walk and walk again, often more than several times a week. On Gang Nam Street, full of energy and its transient inhabitants moving restlessly, I feel that it's easy to lose myself in the fast-paced momentum of life.

In the Kiski School in rural Pennsylvania, where people live with nature, the majority of the inhabitants on the Kiski grounds and the main trail are of a different ilk, coexisting together, each following a different beat to life. I've unfortunately found skunks on numerous occasions directly outside my dorm room window, deer nibbling on some unknown edible on the main trail, and baby bear footprints on a off-shoot of the main path. No one runs hastily as pedestrians in a rush to get to their unknown destinations. Kiski students live in rhythm with our surroundings, simply as humans as a part of nature. I recall that nothing interesting ever seemed to happen at school, drawn mainly to that too friendly skunk as a notable memoir of my day-to-day walk down the main trail. However, lately, as my life at Kiski is coming to a close, my mind now more often takes me beyond the olfactory and visual experiences. I think that it's equally easy to get too comfortable with inactivity.

On these two contrastingly polarized streets, I am reminded of the history lesson of Octavius: to uphold the idea of festina lente, or to 'hasten slowly'.

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