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  • Jolene Roehlkepartain

Practice, Practice, Practice

“We learn by practice,” said Martha Graham, dancer and choreographer.

During this time of year, I love watching the geese near our home…practice. I had always assumed they knew how to migrate, how to fly in formation. But every early autumn, the geese flying around the pond near our home create chaos in the air.

Not only does it look like a flight disaster, it’s also noisy. So much honking. So much crashing into the water. So many geese flying…in the wrong direction.

A number of years ago, I signed up for pottery classes. In those classes, I discovered that a novice potter needs to throw 10,000 pots in order to become…a beginner. Whether it’s creating art, writing a book, or tending a garden, I have “consistent respect for persistence in practice,” which is what author John Singleton wrote in the introduction to Learning in Likely Places: Varieties of Apprenticeship in Japan.

Everybody admires talent, but talent only gets people so far. What’s more important: practice, practice, practice.

When the geese take off for the final time and head south, I’ll smile as I witness them flying…in perfect formation. All because of how much they practiced, practiced, practiced.

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