By Helena Pelsmaekers
The butterfly effect of boredom
Last Friday I went to the Stravinsky & Rachmaninov concert “Brilliance and Longing” in the Royal Festival Hall, where two sisters Katia and Marielle Labèque sat opposite each other, playing the piano accompanied by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It had me rediscovering my love for classical music and live concerts. It’s been a while, for what I thought would be a very occasional thing I would be doing in London, taking advantage of the wide range of cultural events London is offering. But this has been only my first classical music concert since I moved to London. It’s strange that when your mind is occupied by something big like SCA, you sometimes forget to do what makes you you.
It’s probably because we feel like we don’t have time to allow ourselves space to revisit those things or to take the luxury of having too much time and eventually looking for something new.
I am a big believer in the benefits of being bored. During your childhood it’s something terribly underrated and misunderstood. Children are very creative at finding something to keep themselves busy whenever they’re feeling bored. Before SCA, I did an internship from September until December. It left me with a lot of free time from January until SCA. And eventually all that free time got me to start gardening. I’ll give a bit of context: our garden hadn’t had a make over since I was 8 ish. We had a green lawn, but no grass – fully covered in moss instead. Our garden house is made of light brown wood, but you wouldn’t be able to find it back.
So I started doing something that seemed to come from a feeling of boredom. I’ve never done any gardening before. But given the timing and randomness it felt like it almost came natural, like an instinct. It was also a really good way to spend time with my grandfather who lives next to us and grows his own vegetables and fruit. I began force lifting all the moss away (to my moms great annoyance), giving the garden a clean slate, and I planted flowers and bushes after doing research about which ones attract butterflies. That brings me to my second boredom project last summer: nurturing caterpillars. Me and my sister spent the summer looking for eggs or caterpillars on numbers of plants depending on what kind of species we wanted. We then nurtured them (fed them and cleaned their cages – which takes a loooong time) until they were fat enough to turn into cocoons. It takes another 2 weeks to have them burst out of it and set their first few steps as a butterfly. They let their wings dry and when they’re ready we set them free again. Proud mums. I don’t really know if we’re actually helping nature that much but if you know that only 1% of the eggs make it to the stage of the butterfly (in nature) and their percentage of survival in our little project is I think around 80-90%, it’s pretty sweet.
I’ve enclosed a few pictures, if anyone wants to see more just ask.