March 25, 2020 Carole Levy

Lesson from a Snail

Nature has been luxuriant this spring- full of green grass, clear water, and crisp blue skies. This morning, as I was rushing to get in a quick walk on the hill behind my house before starting my workday and first phone call, I stopped dead in front of a living being that I hadn’t seen for quite some time: a small snail.  

It was slowly and boldly crossing the trail. I  took a picture of it, then walked fast to the top of the hill, did a brief meditation while overlooking a panoramic view of the bay Area, went down running because of the denivelation of the trail (not because I’m an expert runner), 1- waving “hello” to a random hiker with one hand, 2- capturing ideas for my writing  outloud on the notes-transcriber-function of my cell phone on the other hand, 3- practicing my pronunciation at the same time and 4- hoping not to crush the snail on my way back.

I wish I could say that my recent confinement, due to the coronavirus’s shelter in place order, has forced me to slow down. It hasn’t. Not yet. I seem to always be running against the clock, trying to gain time, glean a few minutes here and there to think. Often I stop listening to my husband while he’s talking in order to multi-task in my head. 

We had a meeting after my first call this morning to talk about how to use Zoom – the last thing I wanted to talk about. I was irritated that we weren’t making progress on this “learning-how-to-use-Zoom” project. By we I meant he. I would have preferred for him to learn it by himself, but he wanted to collaborate with me. I was impatient to move onto my own project, which is my creative writing, and shortly after he began explaining things to me, I cut him off. I became mean. It’s not even funny enough to recount now. He stayed patient until he got fed up and asked me to stop attacking him. I shut my mouth because I knew exactly what I was doing wrong. 

Three hours later, I realized that when I’m in haste, I actually become aggressive. I decided to search for the etymology of the word “haste” / “hâte” in French, feeling there was perhaps something important to uncover. Haste comes from the Old French haist that means violencevehemence.  A knot grew in my stomach.

I apologized to my husband who never bears a grudge against me, and who seems always ready and eager to partner on a new project with me, her teammate, Madame fast-smarty-pants…

Slowly, but boldly is the lesson of the day.

Comments (4)

  1. Duroux Nathalie

    Tellement vrai Carole. J’admire ta capacité à réfléchir sur tes actes et te remettre en question. Précieux.

    • Carole Levy

      Merci Nathalie ! ça fait drôlement plaisir de voir ton nom ! Est-ce que tu ralentis courageusement de ton côté?

  2. Bill

    When I’m pushing hard against time snd I exert all my mental and emotional effort, I am definitely blind to everything except the next ten seconds. I miss on everything life has to offer because the car in front of me won’t make that right turn. Rushing always produces errors. Recently I slammed the car door on my hand because I was in a hurry. A painful but clear reminder that it will take as long as it takes.

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