Slowing Up

Aesop fable apt for today’s harriedness

By Hilary Berg

Most of us recognize the tale of “The Tortoise and the Hare,” one of Aesop’s most popular fables, and for good measure.

If you’re not familiar or need reminding, here it is in a tortoise shell: Teased by the hare for his slow-moving ways, the tortoise, tired of the hare’s arrogance, challenges him to a race. The hare soon leaves the tortoise in his dust, and, confident of winning, takes a siesta halfway through the course. However, when the hare awakes, he finds his opponent crawling to the finish line for a victory.

The lesson? Though several interpretations exist, the moral I’d like to note is simply this: Slow and steady wins the race. If you work calmly but constantly, you are more likely to succeed than rapidly and carelessly.

These days, most of us live like the hare; everything appears at high speed. Thanks, in most part, to technology, our society wants immediate results and instant gratification. There’s simply no waiting.

Slow has become a four-letter word.

Consider Netflix and its streaming of a gazillion shows anytime, anywhere. Think about texting, e-mail, fast food, one-hour glasses, 30-minute abs, two-day shipping — no wait, overnight shipping — and the list never ends.

How are we not all dizzy from our brisk being. This crazed pace makes me think of the tortoise upended onto its back and spinning from the whirlwind that’s blowing past it. 

Although we crave speed, steadiness has a momentum of its own that leads to progress; not to mention pausing to smell the flowers remains beneficial for the body and soul.

In viticulture, there is no rushing the vines. And taking care of them requires measured planning, patience and steady work. The same goes in the cellar, where endurance is on display with barrels aging for months, sometimes years.

Just like Aesop’s tortoise, wine is slow. Hasten the process and it loses its magic in the proverbial race.

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