Slow time


“Slow time does not mean doing things more slowly. People suffering from burnout and depression have slowed down considerably and not been restored. Slow time is entering into a living relationship with the present . . . Slow looking and slow listening nourishes and revitalizes us.”
Sue Stuart-Smith, The Well-Gardened Mind

When I was cutting peonies over the last week, this idea kept popping into my head – a living relationship with the present. The peonies in my garden have an interesting timeline. There are a few weeks when I think, that’s it, they are not coming back this year. Then the smallest of shoots begin to push through the winter soil and soon there are beautiful, red stalks rising up. After more waiting, the stalks put out leaves, turn green, and then the flower heads appear. At first those buds are very small and always closed up tight, making it hard to imagine the flower. I begin to watch for the ants that will eat the sticky substance holding the bud closed. And finally, they begin to bloom. First the white bush, then the pink. After all that slow time, there will be a bit of a rush because the blooms will not last long. I only have two peonies so they bring their lovely petals and beautiful scent inside for about two weeks. When they are done blooming, they return to that slow time. I imagine the leaves bringing nourishment into the soil and feeding the roots for the next season.

I have seen a few posts about slowing down and paying attention so I know I am not alone in this. Is it because we are thinking about how we will engage with the world differently? Are we anxious about sliding right back into that busy, busy, busy lifestyle? I am thinking about how to hold on to the cycle of these beautiful flowers. To remember and reflect on the importance of each step along the way. Maybe to preserve that memory, bringing it out again on those grey, winter days that are easy to wish away. I wonder what other places I might find this way to engage, build a relationship with the present.

Published by Juliann

Recently retired and ready for adventure

8 thoughts on “Slow time

  1. Agree with above commenter…and sadly, I’m not aware of peonies in these parts…maybe I don’t know them when I see them? Guess I’ll research that…

  2. Peonies are one of those plants that just don’t flower/last long enough for me. Such beauty/aroma for such a short time.

  3. Lovely thoughts for those lovely blooms. and I cannot believe you might’ve convinced me to read a book about gardening. seriously though, I know that nature has beautiful lessons about living wholeheartedly. thank you for the reminder.

  4. I have to enjoy my peonies for the short time they are here. It seems we ALWAYS have a huge thunderstorm while they are heavily in bloom and it just beats them completely down. (I have an idea for that for next year though.)

    I think a lot of us will reenter society as changed people. Some of us will have changed for the better. (I hope I’m one of those.) Some will change in ways we do not like. But, no one will be who they were pre-Covid, in my opinion.

    I know for sure, I appreciate my home a lot more. We were just getting settled when Covid hit. It was hard being in a house that was so needy. But, as time went on, I settled and my mantra became, all in good time. I think I’d like to carry that thought forward. It doesn’t ALL have to be done TODAY.

  5. “Slow time is entering into a living relationship with the present” — I love this! And I still need to read this book!

    Peonies are such a wonderful reminder of our own cycles. They have such a short blooming season – everything they do adds up to these beautiful blossoms that are so worth the wait. We are thinking about the same things right now, Juliann!!

    Also – your peonies are gorgeous. They are so big and fluffy! I have one peony bush and there’s just one bud on it… and it’s still very tightly closed. I didn’t know to watch for the ants… I will now – thank you!

  6. Those are gorgeous peonies. And I appreciate your thoughts on slow time and how to make it work to our best advantage.

  7. I have the same thoughts every year about our bleeding hearts. Every year I am convinced the plant has been killed by snow and ice, but every year it comes back!

    I hope that a lesson we can take from the pandemic is that the future isn’t guaranteed, so we really do need to be in the present and pay attention to what’s happening right now.

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