Taming Time
December 2009

“O Time, suspend your flight!” implored the poet Lamartine in his poem, The Lake. This was back in 1850. Deeply in love, Lamartine dreamed of stopping time to savour and enjoy each day’s most beautiful and fleeting moments. I wonder how he would have survived the frenetic rhythm of this millennium. Nowadays, we need time management experts to give us the impression of controlling, at least a little, our own datebooks. To hear others talk, I am a prime example of this hasty lifestyle. As a child, my mother used to call me “little taz,” later in life, my work colleague would laughingly wonder if a “tornado had just passed by,” I know… I have a hard time slowing down. But I’m getting better. I am not alone in this predicament. There is a growing movement of resistance intent on spreading the word and reminding people that it’s good, it’s healthy and even useful to take one’s time, they call themselves the Slow Movement.

The movement originated in Italy along with slow food that, contrary to fast food, celebrates foods where time is essential to develop flavour. The slow food concept grew to further include relationships of proximity between consumers and farmers where good, quality foods originate. And by the way, cooperatives play a key role in the slow food movement since they let individuals make their own connections with each other, all within a well-organized collective.

However, slow food was only an introduction to a larger movement that was just beginning. Nowadays, slowness is gaining ground in several sectors. In fact, another movement soon saw the light, slow cities, where cities with less traffic, noise and crowds are greatly valued. Then comes the emergence of slow schools where the pedagogical approach focuses on respecting each child’s rhythm and differences and where establishing relationships is strongly encouraged. Furthermore, there’s slow travel, anotheroffshoot of the slow movement. It suggests that tourist stay at least one week in a single location so as to connect with local culture. What’s interesting to note is that agritourism this is generally how it happens. And finally, the latest and most recent development of the slow movement is: slow money. To find out more, I browsed through the slow movement website for several months. The slow money section was under construction. I recently stopped by and it’s still under construction. They say that “It’s a slow process!”

Personally, I think this is rather fascinating. The goal of the slow movement is for people to connect with each other and to teach them to discern the essential from the superfluous, to encourage them to appreciate the here and now. Time does not discriminate. There are 24 hours in each and every day for each one of us. It’s up to us to use them according to our values. A philosopher, whom the name escapes me at this time, once wrote that the only thing that is eternal is the now. Admit it, from this point of view, the here and now takes on a whole other meaning.

Last summer, I fell in love with this new concept I invented: the slow vacation. I stayed home during my vacation and worked diligently at doing absolutely nothing, I sat in my lawn chair and contemplated my blooming flowers and listened to the chirps of birds courting. Those with whom I shared this experience did not seem particularly enthralled. I think some of them even felt sorry for me since I had accomplished so little during my vacation. Regardless, I enjoyed a taste of eternity.

Colette Lebel, agr.
Director Cooperative Affairs
and Board Secretary Assistant
La Coop fédérée
Email: colette.lebel@lacoop.coop
Fax: 514 850-2567


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