Slow Business

The wonderful Chelsea Revell has agreed to write a post for this space. Please take a few moments out of your busy summer to read about slowing down.

———————————————————————

It’s summertime in the south. After four years of college in the Northeast, I am still trying to re-acclimate myself to the excessive amounts of heat and humidity that the Carolinas generously offer. Admittedly, I’ve become quite the New Englander, preferring its weather and climate, but as a lover of the outdoors I can’t help but immerse myself in what is available to me in this particular place and time, humidity and all.

I spent part of a recent afternoon picking wild blackberries along a relatively untraveled path in the woods. I was careful as could be, but inevitably finished the task with a few swelling bumps and minor scratches on my hands from the thorns on the blackberry vines. I am not complaining, though: as I surveyed each new patch of berry territory, I thought to myself, I am thankful that blackberry picking is slow business. In a day and age in which so many of us are able to whiz to the supermarket and fill our carts with almost any food product (never mind whether it’s in season or grown anywhere near us at all!) at our mind’s every beck and call, how refreshing it is to deliberately set aside time to free ourselves up to be slowed down.

The concept of a sense of connection to one’s food – knowing the square of ground from which it sprung, taking part in the process of harvesting it – is a concept as old as time, yet it can disappear stunningly (and unnervingly) quickly as societies plunge head-long into development and industry. It is not that these pursuits are inherently bad – certainly not – but as we witness our own culture continuing to embrace a whirlwind of instant gratification, convenience, and the exhilarating sense that everything is (or can be) at our fingertips, my challenge to all of us, myself included, is to think deeply about the richness afforded in activities that require us to move more slowly, to value effort and work, to appreciate the idea of scarcity of resources and luxuries. Picking blackberries is just one example, and I look forward, this summer, to discovering new ways to go about “slow business.”

Slow Business - Blackberries in June

Season

What a beautiful morning! The sun is shining but not so bright that you need to wear sunglasses. The birds are running across the grass, mulch, and sidewalks with a wormy breakfast in their mouths. Bikers speed down the road  with only the tffttthhh sounds of the tires on the gravel to warn you of their coming.

Today is also a day of goodbyes. It’s strange. Days seem to have a certain aura that sets the temperament for the day. When it rains, we blame the weather for our yawns. When it snows, people blame the cold for their bad moods.

But today is such a beautiful day! Why must it be tampered with the sorrow of departure?

———————————————————————-

I am in love with this season. This is my first spring and summer in the North Shore, and it feels like a gift wrapped just for me in floral paper with hand-tied bows all around it. Each bow I untie releases a wonderful surprise.

It is a season for all things filled with joy, hope, and happiness. It is a time for spontaneity, young love, adventures in the wilderness, and picnics on the beach. It’s a time for making new friends, stealing a kiss, mailing a handwritten letter, and trying something new.

I want to jump in head first. I want to run into this frigid ocean, holding hands with those I love, and dive into its depths only to be warmed by adrenaline and the spirit of the season. I have already dipped my toe in, walked in to my knees, and am almost to my waist. It is time to take the plunge!

———————————————————————-

My birthday is in a little over a week, and I don’t think I’ve been this excited since my sweet 16. I’m fondly leaving my teenage years behind me to become to big 2-0. The weird thing I rarely feel my age. Dealing with all my health problems makes me feel like a 75-year old woman sometimes. Other times, all I want to do is sit in front of Adventure Time and color. I’ve been described as an old soul and told I have the energy of a first grader.

And I’m totally okay with both.

I would much rather be unpredictable than try to fit the 20-mold. I’m not big into trying to fit into molds. I prefer to spill over the sides and break down the walls of expectation.

What am I doing for my birthday? I have absolutely no idea since my sister is planning a surprise weekend. What am I doing for my birthday week? I’ll probably continue my Harry Potter marathon, color in my new favorite coloring book, take some photos of beautiful people, go to work, play racquetball, learn some sweet hula hoop tricks, cook a lot, and eat even more.

I am excited for the surprises that today hold. I am excited for my birthday. And I am even more excited for this season of light.

AshDeb1_172