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Doin’ it slow.

A lot of good things, maybe even most good things, come about slowly. I have been thinking about this a lot after I posted on slow and steady knitting, and began applying the slow, steady idea to other things in my life.  Take Pongo, my beloved sourdough starter.  Way slower than a package of freeze-dried instant yeast; waaaaaaay slower than buying a loaf at the shop like a Normal Person, but fun and interesting and involved and, well, I like it.  I like the gradual thing, too: I like working my way towards an achievement, bit by bit, every day. Makes me feel all diligent and mature, and I like I can plan things out in a really mature and considered fashion. Today’s post is dedicated to my List of Things That Get Awesome Slowly.

1. Knitting. Well, that’s the obvious one, isn’t it?  Stitch by teensy stitch.  Each stitch is a step forward, a step towards the completed garment (or, at worst, a step closer to finally realising what a god-awful mess you’ve got on your hands and thus a step towards a stiff drink and the stern decision to unravel the yarn and put it towards a higher cause). You can argue about whether you’ve developed emotionally and or made psychological progress until the cows come home (although with whom I am unsure — perhaps you live in a more intense environment than I), but you cannot argue with thirteen more stitches than there were before.  Oh, that sock over there? Two inches longer than it was this morning, and all thanks to me. That’s progress, done in nearly unobservably small steps. And if you’ve ever writhed your way through the twilight zone that is “Work in st st until piece measures 13 inches”, you’ll know what I mean when I say it’s a slow, steady achievement, and sometimes you really have to count the stitches you just did to remind yourself you really are progressing.  But you are.

2. Music. I play the clarinet and I have done so for years.  Decades, almost. And it’s only in the past two years I’ve noticed this shocking truth: when I practice, I get better!  Did you know this? Why didn’t anyone TELL me?  I mean, holy cow — and get this, if I practice more, I get better faster!  I am thinking of writing a book on this, because people NEED TO KNOW.  It’s not like you go from fourth dildo to lead soprano in four days or anything like that, but you get a tiny bit better every day, and then you go and see your music teacher once a week, and you’re way better than you were last time you saw them. Unbelievable. People: get the word out.

3. The pièce de résistance. M knows a thing or two about the benefits of many slow steps towards glorious things.

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Proofing the sponge for these babies took about twelve hours, and then there was the mixing and rising the dough (just shy of an hour), the three folds with chilling in between (another hour, altogether), then the final cutting, shaping and rising and cooking (another hour or two, including 25 minutes or so for cooking).  You don’t rush these things.

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Fourteen-ish hours of work leads to this carefully-rolled darling.  This is the pre-cooked croissant.

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Baking, deliciously. (Ignore the dots in front of them, they’re from the oven door glass.  I mean, they’re meant to be there, it’s not muck or anything.)

And then, finally:

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Oh yes.  You don’t rush these things, and then you reap the delicious, flaky, buttery rewards.

My conclusion is that some of best ever things come about slowly, in small increments, in measured steps, and when M’s baking.

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