My friend gave me a book entitled In Praise of Slow by Carl Honoré. The author investigates the phenomenon of slow living – slow food, cooking, traveling, napping and sex. Honoré writes that going slow is a way to be more efficient in the unavoidably fast parts of your life.
Sure, I love speed – fast Internet, fast replies and fast planes to name a few. Speed helps me accomplish the obligations in my life while leaving free time to enjoy the areas I prefer. Like napping. (Assume I’d say sex? Never realized I had a speed issue.)
Last summer my husband and I celebrated Canada Day by taking a slow trek through Alberta. We headed for the Ukrainian Pysanka Festival in Vegreville, Alberta, where we saw the World Famous Pysanka – a gigantic Easter egg.
Not only did we plan to enjoy the festival’s rich heritage and food, but we also wanted to take township and range roads for part of the journey.
We cruised over gravel terrain because we wanted it all and we wanted it slow. Let fast traffic take the highways, we reasoned. Instead, we traveled at 25 mph, took pictures of moose and deer grazing along quiet roads, and literally stopped to smell the Alberta wild roses.
When you spot more wildlife than people, you know you’re taking the slow road. My husband pulled over to photograph an abandoned schoolhouse at the edge of a field. An impressive spear of lightning zigzagged behind him and he started to race towards our truck. Fast.
“What a baby!” I called out. “That lightning is miles away.” And then he pointed.
Two wolf-sized dogs tore towards him from the other end of the road. Since my back was turned, I hadn’t seen them appear. No barking, they were serious. And by the way they bared their teeth and raised their hackles, they weren’t greeting him with open paws.
When it comes to running from snapping jaws, fast is advisable. We hopped into our truck and slammed the doors.
At the Vegreville festival, we ate wonderful Ukrainian cooking and listened to live polka music. Then we bought loaves of bread baked – slow – in clay ovens. Our treasure d’jour was the ice cream pail of beet borscht we purchased to take home.
Once home, we dipped into our borscht supply non-stop.
“Slow down, pace yourself,” my husband said when I gestured towards the soup pot with my ladle. “I can’t handle more than one bowl an hour.”
When it comes to slowing down, I’m not perfect but I try. Neither is the author of In Praise of Slow. I read that he got a speeding ticket while researching his book.
*Jonesing for holopchi and perogies? Check out this year’s July 7-9 Pysanka Festival in Vegreville, AB.
Audio story music track
“Jazz in Paris”
by Media Rights Productions