Today has been glorious. We’re lucky enough to have a garden and while it’s only small, it’s a haven to me. I’m not a great gardener. I’m very much of the ‘shove it in the earth and see’ brigade, but I can both lose and find myself when I’m out there pottering with only the birds and the dogs for company.
Yesterday I planted flower seeds. I had planned to write all day but while I was making my first essential cup of seriously strong coffee of the morning a wave of grief hit me so hard that it nearly took my legs out. Out of nowhere, I remembered what my Mum used to say when she left a message on my phone and that was all it took to pummel me against the rocks.
They don’t tell you that in therapy. They draw pictures about how grief shrinks over time, reassure you that you won’t always feel like prey in its jaws, but they don’t tell you that it’s always there, lurking like a crocodile in the shallows, ready to swallow you again at a moments’ notice.
I abandoned the writing and headed to the shed. Mum had me gardening even as a toddler and it’s something I’ve loved ever since. We’d often chat for hours on the phone, her pottering in her garden, me in mine, interrupting each other to excitedly report on this or that bird that had come to pay a visit.
After my online writing class this morning, I was back in the garden again. Not wanting to be alone with my thoughts, I listened to a podcast as I hefted pots around, trying to find spaces for the huge shrubs I’d rescued from Mum’s tiny garden.
I was only half-listening as my brain was busy beating me up for all of the things I should have done, but, thanks mainly to my lack of courage, have kicked down the road over the years.
Then the podcaster said something that yanked me out of my self-flagellating fug. Quoting Srikumar Rao, he said, ‘When the flower blossoms, the bee will come.’ I was watching a bee on the Pulmeria as he said it and at that moment I was reminded of nature’s greatest lesson – and the gardeners’ greatest frustration – everything happens in its own good time.
It’s not about doing or having…it’s all about being.