Writer and naturalist David Carroll,
in Self-Portrait with Turtles explains:
"In a blur of past and present,
drifting into the now,
I endeavored to shift into turtle time,
the time within time that is neither past nor present
but the ongoing now."
Slow stitching by hand
can bring us into "turtle time"--
the peacefulness, expansiveness, and presence
of the ongoing now.
If turtles could stitch, surely they'd stitch by hand.
Besides the difficulty of sitting upright at a sewing machine
with a rigid torso,
I don't think they'd like
the noise or speed.
Turtles seem to be in their element
moving slowly and quietly.
Perhaps they could be an emblem
for a contemplative, deliberate way of life.
Spending time in places where land and water meet
evokes a thoughtful mindset and pace.
Stitching by hand can do the same.
Taking one stitch at a time,
whether with embroidery thread or beads,
puts my mind in a meditative state
that slips outside of time
and floats in the beauty of materials,
the joy of creating with ones' hands,
and the abundance within turtle time.
Floating and grounded
I breathe in tranquility
at home by the sea.
I sure do.
The rhythm of waves
repeatedly reaching the shore
echoes the rhythm of relaxed breathing
and the rhythm of slow stitching.
Movements are deliberate and evenly spaced.
Nothing is superfluous.
Turtles in the sea ride currents and waves.
Turtles in mythology are islands
or the bearers of the Earth.
Congregating turtles are like archipelagos.
Gathering with others
to stitch by hand
in silence and in community
can be a source of relaxation, creation, and bonding.
Selecting the placement of each stitch
and each bead to be secured
puts ones' mind in a peaceful and focused place--
a place of creative and spiritual calm if not bliss.
Stitching in turtle time can be done on projects large and small.
The point is to relax,
to breathe slowly and peacefully,
and to join hands, mind, and materials
in a creative place of peace
in the ongoing now.
David Carroll wrote:
"...Like a turtle, I had endurance, not speed.
...the more slowly I moved,
the longer I kept still,
the more I would see."
"Solitude and silence intensified my seeing..."
As we stitch slowly and in silence,
we can begin to see life and the world as it is,
to clarify our own thoughts and beliefs.
Stitching in turtle time,
helps us move inward
while creating something
of outward beauty or function.
Going In to turtle time--
to mindful movement,
to slow stitching--
is a wonderful antidote
to flashing advertisements,
buzzing mobile phones,
the parts of the world
for our attention
and our resources.
In this type of slow movement
the running stitch
the walking stitch--
across our cloth.
On the path each day
I realize the journey
is my only home.
With each slow stitch
we can breathe, contemplate, and create.
We can perform a sort of
that brings equanimity to our minds
while creating with hands.
Moving in turtle time,
can be a dear friend--
a peaceful companion on our journey,
a way of both creating and renewing.