This panicked thought, was my last every night for the past two weeks. Until last night. Last night I finished my fourth page of the evening from Out Stealing Horses, leaned over to turn off the lamp on the nightstand and realized that savoring a few pages of a beautifully written book can bring the perfect end to a day. I realized that Per Petterson's writing reminds me of Hemingway, spare, descriptive sentences richly describing a man's recollection of a boy's life. I've enjoyed this daily nightcap so much so that I'd intended to dedicate this entire post to the pleasures of slow reading. Then, I realized how this new philosophy of pacing had extended to other areas of my life and enhanced the quality as a result.
Dinner hour around here used to be non-existent, or rather it was every man for himself. When dinner was ready we each grabbed a plate, served ourselves, and scurried off to our separate rooms to eat while we watched TV, read, or talked on the phone.
I'm not sure how it started, we began eating dinner together at the dining room table. Enjoyed the experience, we added candlelight, and then music, and then this sacred hour became a great way to wind down, to transition from our work day to our home time. We take more time preparing dinner, we have a glass of wine, we enjoy planning a menu, thinking about the ingredients, using more local produce, even growing our own herbs in a window box. I find that this small change has resulted in greater changes in our lives, we are more patient with one another, we take time to have a conversation over dinner, to really listen to one another.
It's easy to say that life moves too quickly, that we have no time for one another or time for ourselves. What I've found is that by making conscious decisions and taking small conscious steps we can slow down and savor our enjoyment of things like books and good wine, but more importantly, our relationships with those we love.