The View From Above the Shop: Cold Weather Reading
We’re barreling along right into our busy season, and we’re taking a deep breath in now as we roll up our sleeves to dig in. It’s a very satisfying feeling to see all of the rows of notebooks stacked neatly on our shelves, packing supplies for online orders ready to go—although the to do lists still seem pretty long some days, and most (/all) days the upstairs apartment is chaotic.
In other news, it’s recently gotten pretty cold here in Toronto. I suppose I haven’t acclimated yet, so I’ve been siting around hunched over in the Chan-family-mandated extra sweater and scarf and blanket, trying to convince Chicken to come and sit on my lap and provide me with some extra warmth. When I complain that my eyes are shrivelling up from the dry heat, Jon goes AHA! so the heat IS turned on high enough.
If it wasn’t clear, I’m a spring flower.
But I’m otherwise embracing all this cold weather with a stack of holds from the library. Naomi is now two, and as our bedtime routine for the kids has gotten smoother and Naomi now (mostly) goes to sleep easily on her own, I’ve been quasi-committing to an hour of reading a night.
I’ve always been more of a here and there sort of a reader, a few minutes before bed, while waiting to pick up Caleb, at the doctor’s office. But as life has gotten busier, I’ve realized I sometimes need to make an effort to slow down. This was also inspired by a recent morning at a cafe, where I brought my iPad and notebook and things in preparation for getting some work done, and two tables down from me was an older Asian man who read for almost two and a half hours straight, as other people came and went, in singles and in groups. He took an occasional note with a mechanical pencil in his margins, but other than that, sat perfect comfortable in his large winter parka and headphones without a glance sideways.
To me, with my sometimes squirrel like attention span, as I flit from giving someone their break in the studio shop to taking something out of the freezer for dinner to looking up something to answer someone on social media to responding to a question on slack to changing a diaper to picking up Caleb from school to trying to answer that email before the end of business day and not at 11:30 pm to packing up a bag to take the kids to a music lesson—sitting beside this man who was reading a book for nearly three hours was an impressive display of a incredibly focused mind.
Some nights it’s been tough: an hour of reading! It sometimes takes me half that time to come down off all the bustle of the day. My secret is to prepare with a tasty snack to keep me in my reading chair long enough for my brain to shift gears. However, I’m realizing that focus and attention are becoming more and more important in this age, that habits start small, and that a good story is worth it.