Friday, June 22, 2012

Fast vs slow, in life and knitting

You know the whole Slow Food thing?  I've got slow knitting.  Literally.  I'm struggling to think of it as a good thing (better than no knitting) but this morning I had a new insight into the distinction between fast and slow I thought might interest you too. 

Example: Garden

I had this great idea when I landscaped my tiny front yard to tie together a lot of different areas with a limited colour palette, and planted only stuff with white flowers on green foliage. The process was Slow, because I had to track down flowers that bloom white but like shade, neglect, and traffic, because after I’ve got plants into the ground I tend to lose interest in actually spending time around them.

(translation: I am prone to crippling hayfever.)

When I found some poppies that bloom white, I had to find a place for them, which ended up being a tiny front corner that gets more sun than the rest of the place.  I got a bloom from each of the two I planted the first year; after that the second one died, and gradually the first one started to spread.

This year I counted three buds on it, and then suddenly five, and then seven tightly closed weird looking buds, and one morning I went to go out the front door and


Two of them had bloomed.

It didn’t take long for some bees to get in there and do what bees do:  check out the dust scattered around there already. 

I find the furry oversized buds of this plant seriously creepy-looking, but the blooms remind me of beautifully worked china saucers for delicate but impractical teacups.

The very next morning, there were three teacups:

 ... and by the end of the day I took this, the petals from the first two were all over the sidewalk, their work done for the year.

Meanwhile, while I was distracted by the poppies, these (non-creepy) flowers burst forth:

(Yeah, I know.  I snuck some purple in there.)

And now they're done too.  Bye bye buttons!

Lesson Learned

It's easy for the flower stage of a plant to pass as the noteworthy part, the time when they are pretty and cheery, but actually it serves a very distinct purpose in the plant's life cycle.  Done to scale, it's not unlike the time it takes for a woman to grow a baby - there is a lot more about that woman and the span of her life that is noteworthy, but the growing-a-baby stage is pretty visible and imagination-capturing, so people may notice and fuss over her more then than they might when, say, she is a solitary life form quietly reading a newspaper on a crowded bus.

Bottom line:  some parts of life seem to go SUPER fast, others super slow.  But it's all part of the same thread.  

And Back To Knitting

Right now, it may be taking forever to finish anything I've started to make, but I know that when the time is right all my various socks are going to leap off the needles and onto my feet.  The fact that part of the process was slow doesn't mean it was bad at all. Just that it's a different part.

(and as I type that, it occurs to me that the same idea applies to the writing I'm not doing now either.)

Aren't we lucky there's always something pretty happening, somewhere?

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