Friday, February 01, 2008

Slow Time

I often find that different seasons interact... the chronological seasons, the liturgical seasons and my own life seasons. I always tend to lose momentum in the doldrums of winter - the February slump is a well known feature of homeschooling, and one of which I have plenty of experience. At the same time the Church is in an interval of Ordinary Time between the celebrations of Christmas and the spiritual astringency of Lent. But this year everything about my life has slowed ... right ... down. I am now in the middle of what I can only describe as Slow Time.

With the big girls in school, I am able to take life at toddler pace. Little Cherub is the least intrepid of small people and it has taken a long time for her to decide it is safe to walk outside. The first couple of times she tried she fell over, found the ground was hard and hurt, and it took another three months or so before she plucked up the courage to try again. (This is par for Little Cherub's course - she has only just decided it is safe to manouevre herself on and off a child size chair. She does not do climbing.) Last week, however, she decided she would like to walk to Grandma's - less than ten minutes on adult legs - and ... wow! ... she made it! Slowly. Very slowly.

I think this is the first time in my life that I have had both the time and the patience to go at this speed. Even when I have had the time, I haven't been ready to relax and allow myself to slow down. Now I am. Over the last few years the pace of life has varied from busy to hectic. Homeschooling is a hard option - good, and a route I'm glad I took, but hard - and the last couple of years had a series of added physical and emotional demands. Now here I am in my late forties at home with just a small toddler and not only slowed right down but enjoying it. Life is no longer a series of missed deadlines, many of them self-imposed and impossible. If it takes me forty minutes instead of ten to do a job because Cherub is helping, or because we stop in the middle to sing songs or watch squirrels, it doesn't matter. If she wants to walk and we go at a snail's pace, stopping to check out bricks, stones, puddles and leaves, that's fine. I'm in no rush.

After eight years of homeschooling this gentler, quieter, slower life is still very new. I am like a train that takes a mile to stop after the brakes are applied, and it is probably only in the last month that I have fully adjusted to the new pace. Over the last two or three weeks, slow has almost become stop thanks to coughs, colds and sore throats which have attacked me in various combinations. (Currently it is cough and cold. Sniffle.) But you know, it doesn't matter. It is winter; it is Ordinary Time; it is Slow Time. We can just hole up and take it easy until the coughs and sniffles go away.

Next week Lent begins. Easter and Spring will be just round the corner. What will happen to my Slow Time then? What is growing below the surface, I wonder? What new shoots will appear in the spring? For once I am not planning, just watching and waiting. What will my next season be?


Romany said...

Glad you've adjusted to the slower pace.

I can remembre those v e r y slow walks, stopping to admire gravel in people's driveways and old cigarette butts on the path, questions about leaves and raindrops. Mmmm....lovely. I hope to slow back down one day. In about 3 years, I reckon. {g}

Shari said...

Beautiful! How lovely to have the slow time and the grace (and experience) to know that even the slow time goes fast! Hope you are feeling better soon! But not too soon.

Carole in Wales said...

This article really struck a thread with me. I truly love the slower pace and work hard to try and keep it in my life. Unfortunately, life's circumstances do not always allow for it ... my boys want to walk quickly instead of enjoying life as we travel through it. But I try to seek the slower path.
Hope that you and your family are feeling better soon.

Melanie B said...

I love these thoughts about life's seasons and taking things slowly. Indeed one fo the great joys of having a toddler is getting to see things through little eyes, the joy in the small, the ordinary. Taking the time to enjoy walking just a block rather than pushing on for miles.

In other ways, though, Little Cherub and Isabella could hardly be more different. Bella is so intrepid and adventuresome. Fearless. She climbs heedless of the danger. She runs, falls, picks herself up and then walks for a little bit, only to resume running in short order. Sometimes I wish she had a bit more fear... like when I caught her falling off a seven-foot high slide. Had I not been right there, I hate to think of how she might have been hurt.

Anyway, I'm happy to share your enjoyment of the slower pace of life.

The Bookworm said...

I think Cherub could do with lessons from Bella ;). She likes sliding down slides - though it takes a painful amount of time getting herself arranged and launched - but has absolutely no clue how to climb up them!