Here’s a short, sweet poem by one of my favorite poets:
Just as the hare is zipping across the finish line,
the tortoise has stopped once again
by the roadside,
this time to stick out his neck
and nibble a bit of sweet grass,
unlike the previous time
when he was distracted
by a bee humming in the heart of a wildflower.
~ Billy Collins, Horoscopes for the Dead
This poem reminds me of the Frog and Toad memes I started seeing on the Interwebs about a year ago: a Gen Z reaction against hustle culture.
I’ve always operated like the hare in Collins’ poem. But I’ve envied the tortoise and have realized how wise he really is. We’re all racing somewhere. Racing to the job title. Racing to the accolades. Racing—and stressing and worrying along the way—to whichever status symbol that tells the world we finally made it.
But who really cares?
The world is so much bigger than us and our precious little myopic egos. It’s healthy to zoom out far away from ourselves and hold on to that perspective. It’s humbling, but it’s calming, too.
A friend shared this in a moment of frustration, and I laughed. So true though, right?
Once we cross a finish line, we manufacture another “finish line” to race toward. And then we go on social media, see what others have done, and feel inadequate all over again. Then we dream up new benchmarks. It goes on and on.
And it’s exhausting.
Sure, we can set goals and strive for them. But that requires balance. We need to remember to stop by the roadside once in a while. Touch the soft grass, feel the breeze and warm sun on our skin.
Like Frog and Toad:
My goal is to do this more myself. And I’ve been surprised by how hard it is after being conditioned to rush and race from one task to the other for so many years.
So slow down. Be present. Enjoy the journey and stop to marvel at the insects along the way.
There’s no rush.
Jon has finished inking page 40 of Three Bee Honey—hooray! Progress has been slower than we’d hoped, but we’re inching closer each day.
Here’s a sneak peek at one of the pages with Claire, Hannah, and Abi learning about the waggle dance:
Recent Read: The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
I read this book back in college. And now that I’ve had more life experience under my belt, I felt it was worth revisiting, and I’m enjoying it even more. I also wanted to re-read it since it recently stirred up so much controversy and has even been banned in school districts around the country. The Bluest Eye explores beauty standards and racial identity. It’s about a Black girl named Pecola who is growing up in the Jim Crow South. She dreams of having blue eyes because she feels that will make her beautiful, and in that yearning, we see the pain and tragedy that inspires it.
Toni Morrison’s prose is both beautiful and raw. Every book I’ve read by her is filled with passages that make me slam on the breaks, reverse, and re-read because I’m so shocked she actually “went there.” While her stories aren’t for the faint of heart, and this one explores many uncomfortable topics (definitely not for young ones), they cut to the core of human nature with devastating elegance and should be read by as many people as possible. I highly recommend this book!
Lilo enjoying a lazy moment (and a cozy sweater) as her mom works.
Finn keeping an eye out for his special outdoor cat friend.
Our blood oranges are back in bloom, which means some yummy juice in the mornings. In the past, we’ve made marmalade with the fruit, but life is just too crazy at the moment, so maybe next year.
Circling back to the poem by Billy Collins, one of the things I love to do when I want to slow down is going on walks.
When I’m in the office or working from home, I try to take a break and go outside to clear my head. Just a 10 minute walk works wonders.
If you can, squeeze in one 10 minute walk into your daily routine: before work, during the work day, or after. If we can spend 10-30 minutes doom scrolling, we can manage a short walk. :)
It’s well worth the effort.
Welp...that’s all for this month. Thank you so much for reading!
I’ll be in touch again in February. :)