Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Process or Product?

As I was pulling in a fighting-back trout from the lake this past weekend, I found myself thinking that I wished he had waited a bit to bite on my line. He bit on my first cast! 'What a silly thought,' I told myself. 'Why go fishing, if not to catch fish?' So I started thinking about all I do, and whether it is the process I do it for, or the product.

Fishing: definitely process. Sometimes I don't even bother to put bait on the line. I just love being at the mountain lake; smelling and feeling the moist air, relaxing on or near the water, and occasionally doing battle with a fish, which I may or may not keep. (I released this weekend's catch.)

What do I do for the product? Cook, definitely, though I occasionally bake cookies or bread for the process, as well. Clean: product. Exercise: again definitely product (health), as I hate the process!

And what do I do, besides fishing, for the pure joy of the process? Practice my guitar, and any other form of music.

Most other things I do both for the enjoyment (process) and for the result (product.) When I garden, I begin it for the product, but I always enjoy the process, once I am out there (unless it is HOT.) My knitting, sketching, and both painting and weaving fall into this mixed-blessing category. I believe I began doing each of those things for enjoyment only, but began having expectations of the product as well, as I became more proficient in each of those activities. Sometimes I think that is a shame; that we come to have expectations of 'product' while doing things we love to do. But I do also enjoy feeling the task has been 'worth it' in terms of creating something I like, as well as in the enjoyment of the time I have spent doing it.

I do hope I don't ever have huge expectations of my fishing time or my music, though. I know people who do feel a day fishing is a waste if supper is not hauled in, but I have no expectation of being one of those people. And I am quite happy playing guitar and singing to myself, whether I sound 'good' or not.

This week I am getting pieces off to exhibits, weaving cows, and doing some sketches from our recent family reunion. I sketched each of my four grandchildren, and, while I enjoyed the process of doing each sketch, I was most happy with the product on this one, of my 7-year old grand-daughter.

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