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A living laboratory for a sustainable human future.

Can We Slow Down?

by Arjuna da Silva

When Camp Elliott Road was still unpaved, in dry spells we had to crawl “like the Elliotts” so cars and homes wouldn’t be enveloped in clouds of dust. We agreed to the paving for that reason, but ease brings speed, and attempts to self-regulate to 10 mph or less have been spotty.

We’ve been trying to remind ourselves and our guests with all kinds of signs. Ryan added the 5 mph sign after one rainy day’s serious loss of toads.



Although we’ve lost some toads and an occasional snake, close encounters between cars and bikes have been unsettling. It’s so easy, when coming in off State roads to think we’re going slow at 20. It’s automatic after sitting at the computer or working a firewood shift to head for town or the neighbors at a seemingly slow 15. But little kids on trikes or tots in the road require something more like a snail’s pace.



At one point, before Ryan made his signs, the children took on the task of making a sign we couldn’t miss—calling for a speed we may no longer think is low enough.



How do we get ourselves to remember to take that slow breath, the one that reminds us to be where we are? That birdsong is in the air, that children are playing, people are strolling or jogging, that a season is changing right before our eyes if we move slowly enough to notice?

We’ve been at this crossroad before. When we were fewer people who all saw each other more often, we could use everything from peer pressure to songs on voice mail to keep ourselves reminded to drive real slowly. If anyone out there has a good plan to recommend, please write me directly at arjuna at


Driving slow as royalty can be a short, sweet meditative way to begin or end the trip to town or the errand onsite. Let’s drive like that, like the Elliotts—nice and slow!


Camp Elliott, signs, speed, toads

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