Thursday, 6 October 2011

Come back to what you sow

I'm going to get all philosophical on your ass...

Friends and regular readers shouldn't be surprised by this. I have my moments. And we all should, whether you consider yourself Alpha, Beta or Geek.

When was the last time you retreated back to you? You know, where you were in a moment of pure joy that didn't involve anyone else (that includes not thinking about anyone else for those of you who were going there...)

And how often are you doing something for the benefit, attention or demands of others? Yes you may enjoy, even thrive on that. You may even be a 'celebrity', but lets assume that giving pleasure to others is merely a way of masking your own lack of self worth... 

The other day I uttered the words "I can't wait for the weekend because I've got so much to do in the garden" (hands up/tweet if you've been there). It was then that my partner-in-conversation pointed out rather insightfully that I was in danger of losing touch with my very reason for gardening, and that it was becoming yet another pressure of modern life.

A pressure that is relentless. The pressure to achieve and be seen to achieve, all just in order to cope. And if you're not doing either of the above, you probably want to turn to drugs, looting, cigarettes and alcohol, high calorie food or The Only Way Is Essex. Or just to run away and join the circus.

Yet we're in a circus. And everyone else is a ringmaster. It feels like I've been juggling lions, baggage, vultures, and in doing so am in danger of dropping my balls. And an elephant.

In fact, you can see the evidence before you. Fewer posts on the blog, fewer tweets, and when I do write I point to my own disappointments from what I've failed to grow this year. Very luckily, my guests have taken up the writing baton superbly and I only hope this blog continues to be more interactive. But it's my actual de-connection with the garden that troubled me as I was listening to what my friend had to say.

So I stepped out this morning. A concerted effort just to be in the garden, opening my eyes, taking in the smells (of rotting fruit as it happens).

On the garden table was a flower that wasn't there last week:

I have no idea what it is (anyone know?), only that my mum gave it to me in a pot when I moved here and it has always been there for me, even when I've ignored it (I'm not a flower man). It captured my attention though with it's bursting petals and sugary colour.

I then looked over at my old salad container having sowed some lettuce leaves a couple of months ago but had given up on because of their slow growth. Assuming the brown speckles are decoration, they are looking good.

And it reminded me that at my calmest, happiest and fulfilled in recent years, I wasn't gardening for anyone but myself; gardening wasn't a task or a chore, it was central to my being. I would get up, make a coffee and head out into the garden for breakfast, even in the rain. I would deadhead, weed and lay down the pellets (most gardeners' guilty pleasure).

I would pick a raspberry, admire an apple, curse a crow.

I would go close up to things, look at their colour, shape and texture. Ask myself questions, and go look up the answer. Take a photograph, think of stories and puns. And more often than not, run back inside and write a piece for this blog and hit the 'publish' button without so much as an editor's check. I would love the learning and the subsequent creativity. But mostly the learning.

However,  these last months have seen other things creep back. Dominant forces taking over. People who require energy and dare you ignore them they'll find a way to make sure you don't. Except you don't realise what they're up to until you're fully engaged and before you know it, wiped out. And the things that grow you get left to the side.

So my friend has done me a big favour, and I shall be out there again every day from now on, even if it's just for 5. Rebuilding trust with the garden so that when I do enter the bear pit of the waking day, I do so with perspective and strength. And I'll be using this post and this song to remind me :

(yeah, ok I was an Embrace fan, what of it...)


Kat said...

I think it's a hydrangea! x

Margaret said...

Looks like a Hydrangea to me too

elaine rickett said...

Not quite sure what to make of this post - are you saying that you 'lost it' but now you've 'found it again' or that life gets in the way of gardening and you're not going to let it. Or, do you want booking in for some therapy!

The Hapless Kitchen Gardener

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I only feel hapless because some people make it look easy to grow 10 ft marrows or a banquet of greens whereas my courgettes got nabbed by killer slugs and I only got one raspberry. So tips and stories from people less hapless than I are more than welcome. As a disclaimer though, none of my comments should be taken as expert advice on which you can rely! © Unless stated otherwise, and with the exception of guest content where that guest retains copyright, all photos and posts are the copyright of Tom Carpen and may not be used without permission.