“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.