Sunday, March 22, 2020

Mother’s Day

As one in a series of posts by people reflecting on walking, healing and the Coronavirus, this is Natalie's. She has written more here.

One day past Spring Equinox, it’s hard to know where to begin. I’m so far behind. With excruciating guilt, I stopped composting veg peelings last month for the first time in decades. Both of the one cubic tonne size composters in the garden were over-spilling. They would have been turned and turned into crumbly compost and spread as a mulch across all the veg beds. A thin blanket of fresh nutrients, weed barrier, and warmth after the cold of winter. I’d neglected them, and still I just can’t face the task.

I know where to start, be present. Stand silently and barefoot on the earth and breathe. Lie on the grass and feel my body supported by the earth, look up at the blue sky and breathe. Ground myself and listen to what the ancient voice at the back of my mind is saying, with constancy.

I don’t have the energy. The thought of moving a few tonnes exhausts me. And there is another tonne of topsoil in a bag from last year. It’s been squatting a bed since it was delivered, hyab-ed over the garden fence. Another project left undone. It needs barrowed around the garden.  I’m not sure how much is a mental block, how much physical. When did I lose my energy? I need it back. Undone projects are symptoms of feeling overwhelmed: I was living too fast. So much mess to clear up. No-one but me to do it.

Back to basics. Just observe. Observe the life around me. Tread carefully, be gentle. Except maybe with the bind-weed. Surely it must have some use other than infuriation and strangulation? The nettles will soon be big enough to make spring tonic soup. The comfrey leaves will soon be big enough to cushion the seed potatoes.

For months I have found such solace in Being Inside and Being (relatively) Alone. After years rushing around multiple therapy gardens, juggling multiple tabs open in my mind, worrying, worrying, worrying about people and plants, hearing my voice speak too much, becoming glib, parroting information, I had to crash into stillness. I started calling the fragmented parts of me back home again. My motivation to ‘do something, do more’ left me. I didn’t go outside. I didn’t go into my garden. I decided to retrain as another kind of therapist. I saved money. An escape route was planned. That’s postponed now. 

Yesterday I saw the first bumblebee flying drunkenly around the garden, fat bottom in the air, deep into the daffodils. The day before my nephews and myself listened to a robin singing for a lover, singing the perimeter of his territory, prospecting for a nest.

Thirteen years ago my name rose up the list and finally, after a decade waiting, I was allocated an over-run allotment plot in a rundown allotment site in a low income area of Glasgow’s Southside. I started to tend a garden.

Today I will go back to my garden. I will spend some time just being and observing. Full circle. I started to garden because I knew I needed to be intimately connected to Mother Earth every day. I will make a new start.



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