Posted by: main street writers | March 11, 2011

Time and a Settin’ Hen

Slowing Down, Living More

Noodling around on my laptop on this freezing-rainy New England morning, I am happy to discover that Orvieto is a slow city. It is officially a slow city, a member of the Cittaslow movement.

I’ve heard of Slow Food, and I knew that our retreat hosts offer Slow Travel adventures – but I really didn’t know much more than that. So with the ice building up outside, I’m happily settled in and exploring the world of Slow via the wonderfully fast internet.

Slow wine

It turns out that Slow Food was the first of all the Slows, and it began in…Italy! In a country known for its cuisine (the most popular world-wide, according to Wikipedia), there came a defining moment in 1986, when culinary columnist Carlo Petrini decided that fast food had gone far enough. His campaign resonated deeply among fellow Italians, and quickly grew to become the International Slow Food Movement.

The Heart of Slow

At the heart of Slow Food lies a passionate commitment to local foods, farmers, and communities. It goes beyond recipes and ingredients to honor a way of living that is unique to every town and every region. During the summer and fall, you can find local “feste” or “sagre” throughout Italy on almost any weekend.  September feasts might feature mushrooms, chestnuts, chocolate, truffles, or wine – and always include a blend of conversation, music and stories that reflect the heart of the community.

Slow Food prompted the creation of several other Slows. Travel, gardening, parenting, wine, art – even the planet can be Slow. Cittaslow literally means Slow City – another movement started in Italy…and Orvieto is one of them.

What makes a town or a wine or a garden Slow?

Lots of things that sound wonderful. Slow is about a certain pace. It’s about listening, learning, embracing, participating, reflecting, and understanding life and each other more deeply. It’s about renewal, and becoming more whole. And from this place, everything works better.

Exchanging recipes and lore

Exchanging recipes and lore

From the Romans comes a wonderful phrase: Festina Lente. Make haste slowly.  You’ll find this term on Bill and Kristi’s website, as they describe their approach to hosting the Orvieto Writing Retreat.  You can read more about how they Make Haste Slowly,  here.

“What’s time to a settin’ hen?”

This is a rhetorical question, handed down from the Midwestern branch of my family.  It refers to a brooding hen who, once set on her nest, remains there trance-like, until the chicks emerge – whenever that might be.

Sometimes I think it’s not so much about fast or slow as it is about balance. We need both; we thrive on both. As long as there is balance.  …And a freezing rainy day is a wonderful invitation to shift into Slow.

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Responses

  1. Not only is Orvieto a slow city, it is headquarters of Slow Cities, which has participating communities around the world. Pier Giorgio and Graziella, at Slow Cities, will do the olive oil and wine tasting for your group in Orvieto, above ancient Etruscan caves.

    I love “What’s time to a setting hen.” Nice way to gain a bit of perspective!

  2. To learn more about Orvieto and the Slow City movement, click here.

  3. Check out my website, if you’d like to know more about Cittaslow.

    http://cittaslow.startpagina.nl/

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