Thursday, May 20, 2010

Friday's Quote on Thursday

What we have to learn to do,
we learn by doing.
~ Aristotle

I suppose if I were still in school, or if I were a teacher (maybe), I would think learning could be accomplished by reading or watching a film or a demonstration. And there's a lot to be said for learning with those methods. I doubt many of us could have graduated from grammar school without learning through reading.

But learning by doing … now there's a surefire way to mastering whatever it is you want to do.

Take this whole garden thing, for example. I have lots of garden examples around me; every other household, it seems, has a little patch of dirt in the back yard growing some kind of food.

I did read about my method before I actually got out there with a shovel, hoe and rake. But reading about it didn't create all the raised beds that are out there; that took muscle and sweat and … doing.

After the rain we've had this week (at least two inches, and more to come), all I can say is I'm sooooo glad I decided to go this route.

Had I planted a more traditional garden, my rows of seedlings would easily have been washed away by now. Instead, they're perched on their long mounds of dirt, well-watered by Mother Nature, and the runoff puddles up in the walkways between the beds.

The disadvantage, of course, is that I can't get in there to weed. It's very wet; I tried yesterday and my garden clogs got stuck. But since most of the weeds appear to be in the walkways anyway, I'll be able to get rid of them with the tiller when the ground dries out.

Of course the true test will be when and if I actually have a crop. I have lots of sprouted seeds, but will these raised beds dry out too much to support life? I asked my husband for a truckload of straw for my birthday next week. Adding a thick layer of straw mulch is the final step in the raised-bed process. Otherwise, I'll be wrestling with the hose the next couple of months.

Learning by doing applies to all kinds of things I'm interested in. You can't learn to knit by reading about it. You have to actually get some yarn and a couple of needles and cast on! You have to figure out with your own two hands how to manipulate the string-and-stick combination to create fabric. And then you have to learn how to shape the fabric into your intended object. The wonderful thing about knitting is that you're creating your garment (or pillow or bag or sock …) at the same time you're creating fabric.

You can read about running all day and all night, and you might think running isn't even something you need to learn. Most of us have been running since we were toddlers. But running for exercise does require some additional learning. We need to learn to conserve energy, for example. The best way to learn that is to start out too quickly and find yourself walking the last two miles of a 10-miler. (Ask me how I know?)

Experience frequently is the best teacher, is all I'm saying. What have you learned by doing lately?

Now why, you may ask, is the Friday quote on Thursday this week? Because I'll be in Chicago for the weekend. My husband has a meeting all day Saturday and I will be exploring the south side on my own. The only time I've ever set foot in Chicago was at Midway Airport. (I heard a long time ago that one of the proposed names for Midway was MidAir. Not sure if it's true or not. How unfortunate would that have been!) Oh, and I went to Ikea in Schaumburg once. (I love Ikea. I wish we were spending more time in the area, I'd definitely go again.)

Anyhoo, I won't be here tomorrow to enlighten and enrich your day with a pithy and meaningful quote. Heh. Instead of a day late and a dollar short, we're a day early. And you can keep your dollar.


Elora said...

Hey, Debbi,

Glad your seedlings have survived the deluge so far! Ours are above the mud, but that Dwatted Wabbit was still munching peas as fast as they would grow. Yesterday we finally got the WW (wabbit wire) around the worse incursion places. The war is winding down, with a few feet left to do to cover the ingress of the little beasties. So, yes....experiencing the challenges is crucial for stored knowledge! And then some!

Good post!

denise said...

Enjoy Chicago. I have visited there twice and loved it! It's a great walkable city.

Mary Gee said...

Have fun in Chicago. I lived in Schaumburg when it was a little town - pre-mall - back in the early 70s. Crazy.