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Taking time

I like things that take time. Sourdough bread, fresh yoghurt; fruit and vegetables from the backyard, which I’ve watched slowly, slowly transform sunlight, carbon and hydrogen into miraculous arrangements that fuel me. Snails. Evolution.

Knitting. Playing Schubert’s Arpeggione sonata on the clarinet. Preserved lemons. Dreadlocks.

Almost anything that is worth having or doing is worth waiting for: let us compare grape juice with wine. Kraft Cheese Spread with aged cheddar. Let us think about the depth and lushness of experience that only comes from working your way through a long novel, a symphony or Skyrim.

Patience isn’t a virtue, it’s a skill, and one that grows according to need.  You want that aran sweater? You’re gonna earn it with stitches and with time, baby. You’re going to knit eleventy billion stitches before that suckah’s done, and at least half of them you’ll probably have to knit, unpick and redo, so your overall total is going to be closer to twelvety billion.  You want those ducky socks? Starting from the toe, you’re going to knit 2,960 stitches before you even get to the heel on the first sock. You’re going to go slow. You’re in a hurry? Drink your shitty packet mix soup and go read twitter.

Patience grows slow, which is a bit zen, but grow it does. My Dadini is patient like a boss: a skill that has served him well as he parented his way through three kids before having to knuckle down and wrestle with chronic illness and the slow grind of legal farnacling. I’ve got no doubt at all that there were times when he must’ve wanted to scream, bunch up his fists and put said fists through something. But he didn’t, not as far as I know. He just kept doing what had to be doing, with occasional “let’s stop and think about this” breaks. It was first rate role modelling and I’m grateful. If it hadn’t been so well presented to me, I very much doubt I would have the kind of patience I have now, which lets me knit amazing things, grow beautiful things (like yoghurt) and bake delicious things.

Sure, maybe you’re not interested in cultivating patience like a fine herb. You’re happy with Tip Top WonderShit Bread and instant ramen. But have a couple of hip surgeries and come talk to me about whether or not patience is a worthwhile life skill. Not much point in reassuring yourself “this too shall pass” if you immediately screech “WHEN?”, know what I’m saying?

So here’s to Dadini. He was patient enough to raise me to be patient, and that’s no mean feat (have you lived with a beginner clarinettist? Ye gods, that’s some howling right there). Happy birthday Dadini.

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