Home > Wake Up > Slowing Down

Slowing Down

shaker-adult-cradleMy husband and I turned the clocks back twice this past weekend. We turned them back on Sunday of course, because we like to keep in step with the world around us; we also turned them back—in a more metaphorical way—on Saturday when we took my mom to visit the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, Massachusetts.

The Fruitlands property was at its autumnal best, surrounded by big sky and sweeping ranks of leafy rolling hills. There was little intrusion of modern reality as we browsed the loosely connected mementos of other lives preserved in the museum’s collections—from Native American settlements, to the 18th century beginnings of the local Shaker community, to the 19th century Utopian commune of Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane.

We saw many reminders of how our relationship to time has changed over the past two centuries. Long hand-written letters and carefully crafted furniture and textiles suggested the deep breath and steady heartbeat of people absorbed in painstaking tasks. But nothing stopped me in my tracks like this adult-sized cradle that the Shakers used when caring for the sick and dying. This humble object, and the tender images it conjured, made me wonder if—for all our positive advances—we have been losing our capacity for patience and presence in our rush toward the future.

What slows you down?

  1. November 5, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    I agree…I was in the fast lane, type A personality until 9/11 when I gave it up and moved to Italy, as you know..since you saw a bit of my paradise. I guess I turned my clock back as well. Hope all is well. warmest regards.

    • November 5, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      That’s true, Margaret! You chose more patience and presence instead of less — in beautiful Umbria, where the fine art of slowing down has never been lost. : )

  2. November 5, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    Vicky, your lovely post made me slow down and reflect — a wonderful gift. Tis a gift to be simple — isn’t that a Shaker song?

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. November 6, 2013 at 7:38 am

    Thanks, Clare. You would have enjoyed the visit! A potential destination for the next time you and Janna are up this way.

  4. November 6, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Just what I needed in this moment, Vicky. And I never knew such a thing as an adult cradle existed. It does evoke wonderful sentiments. Much ki and gratitude.

  5. November 7, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Thanks, Judy. That was the first time I had ever heard of such a thing, too. Amazing. Good ki!

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