Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Root of Wild Madder - Book Review

Expectations - we all have them. Sometimes they are accurate, sometimes they are not.

My expectations for this book were something quite different than what the book actually turned out to be about. It was so much more than I expected.

Part poetry, part philosophy, part spiritual quest, part travelogue, part political history, and just a little bit about madder itself.

There are many thoughts from this book that I would like to quote, but I'll settle for just this one.

The author quotes an Iranian by the name of Ibrahimi:

"Time is something man created to bring order. Am I right? We are the ones who long ago sliced it up into hours, minutes, days. Are these pieces the same length for all? Yes, that is true, you could answer. But think again. It is not true at all. Is an hour praying the same as an hour digging a ditch? Is an hour making a carpet the same as an hour making bricks? The same time has passed, yes, but what this hour means is different for each person. Think about this."

Then Brian Murphy muses:

I did. It was another valuable - and unsolicited - lesson in my education into carpets. An average-size carpet - say four by six feet with a good knot count - can take up to two months for two waevers working eight hours a day. Few tasks I can think of, apart from specialized work such as archaeology or delicate surgery, require so much effort with such incremental progress. The weavers' clock, I was learning, is calibrated far differently from mine. Minutes and hours are just too small to matter. Bigger blocks - weeks, months, or even years - are much more relevant. It's almost an agrarian point of view: season to season, carpet to carpet. I would need to slow down, too. If not, I was at the risk of being like a car zipping along on a good road. I would see the sights, but roar past the more interesting tidbits and trifles noticed by someone taking it slower. I told myself: For a while, at least, stop tallying and weighting each hour like a bookkeeper. Patience is, indeed, a virtue.


Sharon Schulze said...

Oooooohhhhh how excellent (and timely in my life) are those words! Last night as I was having dinner with a friend I started talking about how I was trying to work less - which means not working every night or weekend (on my paying job - as with Ibrahim, weaving is not so much work for me *grin*). I realized that since I made the commitment to stop working so much I am actually feeling less behind on everything. I'm sure 99% of that is attitude, but there are also practical reasons, like if I don't send out as many emails I don't get as many back which means less time processing them and making more work!

What an upside down world this is! One in which working fewer hours actually allows me to get a greater proportion of the work done!

Angie said...

Thank you for the book review and some perspectives on time.

Swanknitter said...

I had the same response to this book. I found it valuable, illuminating, and thought provoking, but not so much about madder.