Our perception of time is subject to technological revision, and increased speed has generally translated into a subtle diminishment of our capacity to appreciate our immediate surroundings. In his 1849 essay “The English Mail-Coach,” Thomas de Quincey noted that while the new, high-speed coaches of his day offered much faster travel than had been thought possible a few years before, they also distanced passengers from the countryside. The simple pleasures available to the stroller or the wanderer on horseback — the scent of wild roses, a glimpse of a fox with her kits, an exchange of greetings with other travelers or with people resting from their labors in a field of sweet-smelling, new mown hay — had been traded for increased efficiency. In our own time Wendell Barry has written eloquently of pulling off the high-speed world of an American interstate highway into an Appalachian campground, and needing more than an hour to slow down and adjust to the rhythms of his own body and the world close at hand.
— Kathleen Norris, Acedia & Me
The Great Zero Gate: