Saturday, October 13, 2007

Timing Is Everything

I just read this great quote by that famous philosopher, Anonymous. He or She said, "Time is God's way of keeping everything from happening at once."

It occurred to me today that I must be positioned at a critical juncture in one of Life's Lessons -- the one that has to do with Time. Or the use of same. Or learning to be patient with it. Or to appreciate it more. Or some damned thang. Haven't really got it figured out yet. But look at the evidence ...

We can start with the fact that I'm still stuck with a dial-up connection, which means it takes a lot more time to do fun stuff online. Like watching any video. Or downloading updates or programs or practically anything. That's not necessarily bad, you understand. It tends to make me more discriminating about what is worth the time it will take to access it.

Then there is my recent compulsion to revisit the world of sourdough bread making, this time focusing on the slower wild yeast methods instead of the quicker tame beasties. You know me. I'm always talking about how I like food that is fast, easy and delicious. The F.E.D. Principle, if you will. That's why I've been working the heck out of my bread machine. Suddenly the bread machine is gathering dust and I'm learning to plan ahead with whatever bread recipe I plan to use. I'm learning the longer "ripening" period rewards with better flavor. I'm learning the result out of the oven is enhanced by the longer anticipation of its arrival.

I probably wouldn't have thought all that much about the change of pace except there has been yet another addition to the timing switch pattern. It's the beans. I like to do the quick-soak method so I have the beans cooked presto-pronto. I haven't soaked a pot of beans overnight in -- oh -- a hundred years.

Until now. I put some Cranberry beans (also known as borlotti beans) in a bowl to soak last night. And every 12 hours or so, I'm going to drain and rinse them and cover them with water again -- for 2 or 3 days. Or for however many days it takes for the beans to sprout. And then I'll cook them like regular. Why? Well, for one thing, beans are more nutritious when they've sprouted. For another, once they've sprouted, most of their toot-power disappears. And, finally, I just felt like doing it the slow way.

From one viewpoint, this "slow down and smell the honeysuckle" approach seems a bit strange. Let's face it -- the closer we get to whatever happens to be our close-out day, the less time left for doing anything. So you'd think we'd be compelled to cram in as much as possible. So many [fill in the blank], so little time! Feeding frenzy! Don't miss anything!

But maybe we hit a wall doing it that way. Information overload. The more we cram in, the less we enjoy any of it. Quantity over quality. When you try to put a gallon into a quart-sized space, you tend to lose a lot.

So slowing down makes sense. It's impossible to do it all, so why not more thoroughly enjoy what you can do? I think the older traditional Japanese had the right idea. We fill our homes with pictures and knick-knacks and all kinds of stuff. And after awhile, we can look at it but we don't see it. In contrast, the Japanese had a special place in the room -- an inset into the wall or a table, for example -- and there they would display one piece of art. Perhaps a flower arrangement. Maybe a scroll. Or a painting. Or a still-life with pebbles and a small statue.

Maybe that particular display would be up for a week, or a month, or whatever was appropriate. During that time, all attention was focused on that object because there were no competing distractions. There was time for unhurried contemplation and enjoyment. And then the object would be put away and something new went up in its place.

Quality experience, rich with intensity and depth and ... oh my God. I just realized -- that's a description of eating chocolate!

[The artwork is by Carol Werner, called "Multiple Timepiece Faces" and can be found at]


John Bailey said...

Totally absorbing, and thought-provoking, entry, Dee. If this turns into a thread I shall be on tenterhooks to see how you work it out.

On a quick count, there are 14 decorative items in my study, not counting the books. Too much? I shall have to think on this!

Dee said...

Books are more than decorative, John. They're essential! As for the decorative items, I tend toward the numerous myself so I certainly am not an example of the Japanese way. But I do, from time to time, appreciate the value of it.

The Old Guy said...

As someone said, "Death is nature's way of telling you to slow down".

bonnie said...

I'm at a loss how you cook sprouted beans? Do explain.

As for knick knacks, yes I have too many and part of the reason for having trouble thinning them out.. memories of who/when or where.

Dee said...

Uhmm, Bill? Are you implying I'm -- cough, cough -- deceased? (saucer eyes)

Bonnie, you cook the sprouted beans just like you would the unsprouted beans. I'll 'splain more tonight.

The Old Guy said...

Hardly deceased, Dee. But when you mentioned getting nearer to "closeout day", I wasn't sure whether you meant the grim reaper or the giant garage sale (which usually precedes some kind of moving experience). But I now realize that you're still full of beans, and really just a young sprout at heart. Carry on!