It seems many of us are taking time for contemplation and looking inward – or we wish to. The turning of the year could have much to do with this, as we use the marker of time to take stock, begin anew, and resolve to create more of the things we desire in life. It’s also winter in the Northern Hemisphere, a traditional time for many to embrace stillness and rest in a way that mirrors nature. And, if that weren’t enough, it’s the end of the holiday season, which can also signal a return to routine and calm.
But there’s also something else at work.
Pico Iyer tells us, in his New York Times piece The Joy of Quiet, that people are so desperate to get away from the din of information and chaotic lives that the future of travel “lies in ‘black-hole resorts,” which charge high prices precisely because they are internet- and television-free.
In barely one generation we’ve moved from exulting in the time-saving devices that have so expanded our lives to trying to get away from them — often in order to make more time. The more ways we have to connect, the more many of us seem desperate to unplug. Like teenagers, we appear to have gone from knowing nothing about the world to knowing too much all but overnight.
Iyer notes that “the urgency of slowing down is nothing new”, but perhaps these latest trends point to the fact that, while the desire to slow down is not new, the urgency and the need to do so has increased. The frenzy of modern life and 24/7 communications has stretched many to the limit, and families and others are seeking techniques – be they “black hole resorts”, electronic-free days, or turning down team sports and birthday party invitations – to regain a sense of sanity, necessary down-time and quiet.
The good news is that you needn’t completely check out of life and into an expensive resort or an ascetic ashram.
Make a pledge to slow down as a family by turning off the electronics for one or more evenings a week and playing cards or classic board games.
Get out in nature together. Power of Slow author Christine Louise Hohlbaum offers some ideas.
Do a family craft or cooking project:
Whatever you do, try to bring your whole mind to the endeavor. Enjoy your family and time.
Photos: Susan Sachs Lipman
You might also like:
Slow Family Online:
New Year’s Resolution: Spend More Time in Nature
Slow Parenting Gaining Steam: It’s About Time
Coming Next Summer: Fed Up With Frenzy: Slow Parenting in a Fast-Moving World
New York Times:
Disruptions: Resolved in 2012: To Enjoy the View Without Help From an iPhone
Posted in Crafts, Nature, Recipes, Seasons, Slow News, The Great Outdoors
Tagged Black Hole Retreats, Christine Hohlbaum, New York Times, Pico Iyer, Power of Slow, Slow, Slow Family, Slow Family Living, Slow Parenting, Slowing Down, Unplugging
I’m an early riser by nature, but lately I’ve been getting up especially early. I’m not sure why this is, though changing rhythms of self and season certainly play a part. It really feels like Fall now when the sun doesn’t rise until close to 7 am, and the mornings are fog-bathed, chilly and cozy. Though I relish bustling family time (and I sometimes wish I didn’t begin to yawn extravagantly by 10 pm or even earlier), there is something about being awake and alone in the quiet early morning hours that is extremely special, calm and naturally slow. The knowledge that the whole day is ahead, and one can be present for its entirety, lends a feeling of gratitude and fullness to the early-morning moments, a feeling that can too easily slip away as the day contracts and fills with busy-ness and chores.
I recently used an early morning to luxuriously pick up a sewing project – mending a pair of overalls for Anna – and bake biscuits, both of which I knew would surprise the family when they awoke. Like much handwork, running thread through a garment can be an especially calm and purposeful task. Filling the house with the smells of fresh coffee and biscuits tends to make early risers of others, too.
When Anna woke up and saw the biscuits, and especially her overalls, I got the biggest hug.
The biscuit recipe is adapted from Marcia Adams’ wonderful cookbook, Heartland, The Best of the Old and the New From Midwest Kitchens:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 400. In a food processor (or with a pastry cutter) combine flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Drop in the butter and process until coarse crumbs form. Pour in the cream and process until just combined – do not overmix.
Transfer bowl to floured board and knead 6 turns. Pat or roll dough into a circle about 3/4 inch thick. Using a standard or other cutter, cut out biscuits. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and back for 10-12 minutes or until golden.
Yield: Approximately 16 biscuits.
Enjoy your morning!
Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman
Posted in Butter and Egg, Home Ec., Recipes
Tagged Biscuit, Biscuit Recipe, Breakfast, Chores, Cooking, Food, Gratitude, Home Cooking, Morning, Recipes, Sewing, Slow, Solitude