Recently a colleague noted to me with a bit of bravado that he never sleeps, implying that innovative, creative thinkers don’t have time for rest. I looked at him with lovingkindness and smiled but wondered how long he would be innovative and creative on limited sleep.
That night, I came home to a cloudy, cool farm. Tired myself, I thought about why it is that we seem to value energy and busy-ness as the sign of success rather than calm and accomplishment. As I sat down the edge of the raised bed, I turned to study my garlic plants. I put the cloves in the ground in November. In their own time, they have grown steadily, and in their own time, they will be harvested. They are not like the frantic snap peas that reach hungrily for the trellis so they can grow, produce, then die. The garlic takes its time soaking in nutrients, developing flavor, and withstanding even the coldest snow to prepare for the next steps in its lifespan.
Now, I like peas, and I also like garlic. Neither one has a better place at the Table. But there’s something to be learned from garlic and its slow and steady pace–all of its time and energy carefully creating one of the most pungent and aromatic delicacies that we utilize in cooking.