09 July 2008

Swift and slow

One of the benefits of being self-employed is that when we have our schedule in relative balance, Rob and I can enjoy most of our meals together. Granted, intrusions abound—a business call rings insistently, a client arrives to pick up work, UPS bangs on the door, ink which is drying on a press nags at the printer to hurry and chew—but we get more chances than most to share a brief visit while we eat. I try to be conscious of keeping mealtime discussions comfortable and free of stress; anxieties and pressures aren't good for digestion. Most mornings, once we've eaten, we read a scripture together and talk about it for a moment or two before we leave the breakfast table. It doesn't take long, and the practice infuses the day with a nice energy and thoughtfulness. I like our habit.

This morning, Rob suggested that at lunchtime we start sharing poems. Sounds like a great plan, I said. Rob's been reading a book from the 60s on children's literature, and so today he chose from that a poem by Elizabeth Coatsworth, which I like:

Swift things are beautiful:
Swallows and deer,
And lightning that falls
Bright-veined and clear,
River and meteors,
Wind in the wheat,
The strong-withered horse,
The runner's sure feet.

And slow things are beautiful:
The closing of day,
The pause of the wave
That curves downward to spray,
The ember that crumbles,
The opening flower,
And the ox that moves on
In the quiet of power.


I was glad to be reminded that slow things can be as beautiful as the swift ones, because I really do move and think and live at a snail's pace, and I tend to get down on myself over that. I'll train my meditations in a different direction now. That was a pretty satisfying lunch.


What things, swift or slow, are beautiful to you?

6 comments:

b. said...

I like watching a body of water move. I like it both swift and slow, just as long as it's moving.

I like watching snow fall slowly and rain fall hard and fast.

marshall p said...

did you tinker with your blog? it looks really good. I like all the swirlies.

I like driving fast and I like sitting.

Nielsens said...

I like that I can travel the highway of North Cache at 60mph and feel like a tiny bullet shooting through the great expanse of the valley. I can see in the far distance the rising sun slowly shift from the mountain tops, to spread its rays to the valley of crop fields below. And ocasionally, for a rare treat, on this route I sometimes see a horse that's broken loose from the lethargic bunch to hop the fence and gallop through the alfalfa fields.

Katrina said...

It has been awhile since I've checked your blog. I'm glad you are writing again. :-)

Love this poem.

I love how fast a plane can fly my family to me from thousands of miles away. And I love the slow place of a walk with my husband.

Geo said...

You're all so profound. You make a better poem than the one I posted.

Yeah, marshall p., I do tinker occasionally. The current incarnation's a little psychedelic, no?

I love for good times to pass slowly, and good memories to come to mind swiftly.

Lucky Red Hen said...

I can stare hard at a burning fire, or my children sleeping (watching their gentle breaths go in, and, out).