"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a farm and live entirely surrounded by cows–and china." Charles Dickens

June 27, 2012

The Perfect Day: Take It Slow

It's so very hard to slow down in our world, even though we live here in south-central Kentucky, a place decidedly more rural, and more laid-back, than any place we have lived before. There is definitely a Southern work ethic, a more relaxed way of living, even when there is work to be done. People don't freak out or fret as much. You don't see a lot of road rage. There is a basic sense of respect and the pace is unhurried. We've also enjoyed more porch-sitting and random visiting.

We have taken the past few days after two busy haying times, tending to many baby cows and their mothers––and a voracious bout of needed house cleaning––to host and visit with two of our dear friends, Chris and Jo, from England. They visited us here four years ago when we had just moved and each time we see them, we just pick up all over again. Even though it seems that they haven't aged at all, or that no time has passed, you realize it has when you start talking about children (they left their teens at home for the first time), life events, and the odd insight. Chris and Temple worked on the same dairy farm in New Hampshire many years ago and we have visited back and forth ever since.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” 
~ from Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Our friends Melvin and Anna, asked us all over for a buggy ride on their spring wagon. We've hardly seen them in recent months because they have been traveling all over the country for weddings, funerals and ordinations (the Old Order Mennonites and Amish know how to turn it out for any thing and for their families, no matter how far the distance: it's amazing, really, considering that few orders allow car ownership and definitely not plane travel). So it's been great to reconnect with them, too, and, after four years of friendship, I'd never had a buggy ride with them, either.

The day was perfect: a huge high pressure system from the north brought in pleasant summer temperatures, intense blue skies, and cooling breezes, just for the day. It was a real fall-like treat before the hot blast that is supposed to hit us this weekend (104!). The best part was driving along at a much slower pace than a car, in the open air, talking along the way and where we could really watch the landscape. Everything just slowed right down. One of the books I've often revisited in recent years is In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honoré. This book encourages the same thing (and yes, I read it slowly and savor each word).

Slow read. Slow food. Slow pace. Slow lane. You have to slow it down once in a while. Otherwise, life just passes us by and we get swept up by too much detail and minutiae. So try to take it slow: just for one day, one hour, one moment.

We returned from our ride at the end of the afternoon and spent time talking in Anna's kitchen and under the trees. The only noises were the breeze and the birds and the murmur of voices. No video games, no television, no telephones, no computers. When we returned home again we had a lovely impromptu Mexican meal on the patio, active boys, quiet porch sitting, more laughter.

As my great-grandmother often advised her nine children, "Take the ruthlessness to rest!" Stay put, be serene, try to be content in the moment and with the task. It's really the best cure for what ails.

You come back when you're ready!


There's absolutely no reason for being rushed along with the crowd. Everybody should be free to go very slow...what you want, what you're hanging around in the world for, is for something to occur to you.” 
~ Robert Frost

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