BIOLOGIST Joe Hutto said that when he reared a brood of wild Turkeys, the main thing that he learnt from them, as he took his brood of fledglings foraging deep in the Florida Everglades, was always to be in the present moment; to give your full attention to the meadow you happen to be in, not to be thinking that a better meadow will be coming along later. You shouldn’t rush along regardless with some future goal in mind. It reminds me of Cornford’s poem;
‘O why do you walk through the fields in gloves, Missing so much and so much?’
Wherever you happen to be just now, that’s as good as it gets.
The young Turkeys did seem to be able to make all sorts of discoveries on their home patch. Hutto already knew the area well but he’d never realised, for example, that there were several rattlesnakes living nearby. Hutto admits to identifying so much with his charges that he joined them by eating the occasional grasshopper.
The Grasshopper Mind
I was listening to impressionist Rory Bremner’s investigation into Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. His ADHD, undiagnosed at the time, led to him having a total memory wipe-out when he walked on stage at the Royal Variety Performance.
Looking at my diary for 1972, I can’t help thinking that I had a tendency towards Attention Deficit. One of the symptoms of ADHD is having a grasshopper mind; always leaping on to the next thing. I was juggling so many projects at the time – thesis, exhibition, drawings, leaflets, scripts, articles. I can’t possibly have done them all to the standard that I was capable of. Would I have done better to have focussed on one aspect of my work and to have aimed at excellence at that one thing?
Experts on ADHD say that it’s a matter of degree. The off-the-wall thinking and improvisation of a grasshopper mind can lead to creative solutions. Typically, in business, someone who is good at a more creative, hands-on job – in sales for instance – will struggle when they get promoted to management, which requires organisational skills.
One strategy for ADHD sufferers is to make sure you have a partner who has those organisational skills. Thank goodness I met Barbara!
Of course observational drawing also forces me to slow down and to be in the moment for a while.