Saturday, 4 July 2015

Live in the Fast Lane

I think when you are experienced at something, things slow down. An experienced person watches the events of their experience happen in near slow motion - the more experience, the slower things happen.

The less experience you have at a task, the faster it happens.

I am an experienced dog musher. When I go about the tasks of my job they happen at a pace that I can easily make the decisions and do the tasks required. Everything in my actions is relatively calm and controlled.

This summer Bet and I have been learning to herd sheep. EVERYTHING there for me happens FAST. Sheep are flying, Bet is flying - and I'm standing in the middle of the field or pen slack jawed and stunned. What just happened?

My friend/ever patient instructor Lisa hides her smirk at my flapping jaw and says "Do you know why that happened?" NO - I'm not even sure WHAT just happened. She once again, explains draws, balance and pressure. I get the concepts - honest - it just all happens so fast I can't process it as it is happening.

Maybe that is it. Maybe a brain experienced at something can make decisions faster and more accurately and all those extra 'milliseconds' make it seem like it is happening slower. Who knows?

It would be nice to be learning this in the fall/winter when I could occasionally jump behind a 16 dog team and enjoy the nice relaxed pace! ;)

Bet and I are now 'renting' sheep from Lisa several times a week (a big compliment, I know. Lisa is very protective of her sheep) and taking about one actual lesson a week. I have played with learning enough new things in my life that I know I do best with a combination of instruction and time to fumble on my own to move forward.

Renting sheep means Bet and I have to gather the whole flock, move them to the sorting pens, sort out 3 or 4 of my 'marked' lesson sheep and move them out to the field to work. We 'work' for about 15 - 20 minutes and then put all the sheep back together and move them back to wherever we found them.

Today gather and moving the sheep was a big chore. There was some new challenges for Bet and she decided that today was a good day to see what she actually HAD to do when working with sheep.

It's a step all my sled dogs go through too. Any of us (dogs and humans) that do what they love for a living go through this. Doesn't mean we don't LOVE what we do, but just that we begin to see it as a 'job we love' rather than just 'playing'.

AND ... for the first time today as she tested me everything seemed to be happening at a pace that I could follow, deal with and calmly correct!!!!!

How SWEET is that!!!???

Obviously, I am a LONG way off of things happening as slow with sheep and sheepdogs as they do with sled dogs for me.

Plunging down the Happy River steps is still a more natural thing for me than recognizing and correcting a bad out run. It's mind blowingly frustrating - but also intensely satisfying as it all starts to come together and slow down.

I encourage you all to take a step into the 'fast lane' and challenge yourself with something new - and then stick with it long enough that you can feel it slow down.

It's a RUSH!!!


Ann McDonald said...

This is fantastic. I love, love, LOVE the last picture with Bet on the fly and the baaa baaa sheepy-things. Karen, thank you for living out so many dreams and sharing your inspiration.

Pat in MN said...

Karen, you are an inspiration. My "fast lane" experience was learning how to harness and sled with 3 NW retirees that you so kindly let us adopt. Thanks so much!