As I pick the basil leaves I thank them, they basilness with every separation. – and I find myself enjoying that beautiful basilly smell. Then I remember that the point of that smell (and taste) is to avert predators….Now I am the predator.
The Basil’s smell is intensifying in the heat. I am encouraged by it’s loveliness to override my empathy for their demise at my hands; I am torn though and upon finishing my harvest, I make a deal with myself. I’ll leave the outdoor basils to grow on and feed my bees with their prolific flowers; the glasshouse ones will be cut back – it’s still hot enough in there that they will get a second chance to express their beauty and abundance to all.
I back away, bowing low and rush inside to the kitchen to start blitzing….That word says it all! My only choices here are to be deeply grateful to the basil deva for her yummy gift and to sing her praises to one and all. Oh, and to enjoy that Pesto like its gonna be my last meal!
Yesterday was the first morning of sunshine in quite a few days and it beckoned me ceaselessly to come out into the garden. Over the winter many jobs got left undone and now I had a surfeit of choice. Where to start? Down to the vege patch I went, surveying the posts planted around the edges of the garden which will, eventually, support the anti-rabbit mesh. Anyone who has read Beatrix Potter will immediately recognise me as a present day Mr MacGregor. My greens have been ravished; I’ve taken to planting in the glasshouse so we actually get some food!
I have to say that this didn’t bring out the best in me; I know bunnies are cute but the are devastation on four legs with a fluffy tail! So now, feeling provoked I turned my vengeful gaze on my potting shed and its numerous inhabitants. It too, hasn’t seen much of me over the winter. A new granddaughter was being incubated and she arrived at the beginning of June; so I’ve been Grandma-ing not gardening. Now was the time to take up the reins again. It was no surprise to see the mass colonisation of spiders; nature will encourage all her creatures to do that. After my rabbit-reflections I was in just the right mood to to deal with spiders. Generally, I’m not afraid of spiders and actually find some quite beautiful, but these had to go. I am not Arachne and need no spinning lessons.
Calling upon my Kali aspect I mixed up some pyrethrum spray that urges spiders to move on – at least two continents away! I swept, I stacked, I sprayed. Spiders packed their bags hastily and left, an exodus akin to the Hebrews fleeing Egypt. Today I will go down again and clean the windows so all is prepared for Spring planting.I know that Persephone is making her way up from the underworld because my Almond is blossoming; she is always the first orchard tree to express her joy at the returning of Spring. All around I can feel the garden waking up; we have ben visited by the quail for the first time after their winter holidays. It is fascinating to notice the turning of the wheel; i have so much gratitude for being able to live close to the natural world and to feel communion with her. So much mystery abounds and like a small child who has secretly peaked at her Christmas presents prior to the day, I am allowed to understand the mystery and experience the magnificence. The life of a gardener is glorious and gifted.
And the greatest mystery of all is that of life and death. I have learned to honour this cycle even though I know that the beautiful Magnolia flowers that have bought me such joy these last few months are now in their death throes as the way is made clear for an abundance of foliage. I will mourn their loss even as I yearn for the emergence of fruit blossom, gardenias and rambling rose blooms. With every ending there is always a new beginning.
We’ve just experienced the equinox this week and along with it the usual equinoctial gales. It now finally begins to feel that Spring is here; for some time now we’ve lived with t he dry bones clatter of the death Goddess as she moves through bare branches on a chill wind, shriveling the life out of any new and tender growth.
So it was with joy and anticipation I listened and finally heard the first call of the shining cuckoo a few days ago; the most reliable of harbingers. I trust then that Mother Nature is awakening from her winter’s rest once again. My eyes don’t deceive me either for that Great Lady is now covering her bones with garments of every green imaginable; gauzy limes layered over soft velvety olives and an underskirt of dark glossy greens.
Everywhere there is urgency as birds court flirtatiously and build nests of all manner of wondrous finds. Twigs, feathers, fur and lichen are woven with skill and grace. The call to spend time outside overcomes my concern for wet ground underfoot; a couple of sunny days and all will be dried out once again.
Now as the wisteria racemes begin to unfurl their blossoms revealing a delicious scent I am beguiled and know that I must bow my head in honour of this glorious turning of the wheel.
When our loved ones let us down remember, we’re not alone. This is how I know…
This morning I’m sitting in a sheltered place out of the brisk westerly; I feel the Mother’s sun-kiss on my face and warm tendrils of pleasure unfurl within my body. I lay back relaxing and opening to receive the kiss, the loving touch of the Divine Feminine reminding me of her Prescence. All is well, time stands still and my heart beats in a slow gentle cadence. A tui sings out, its sharp tones travelling far in the clear winter air, the voice of the Goddess, proclaiming joy. As the sun warms all around the lemony scent of Michelia doltsopa ‘Silver Cloud’ reaches me and I breathe in; I bow my head in honour of her gracious gift. I feel such connection in this moment, a gentle radiant peace. At my feet our Manx cat, Lilith, rests curled in sleep; wise creature that she is. Don’t expect us anytime soon world, we may be here for a while.
Since last writing I’ve spent quite some time in deep reflection about continuing to post. My motivation had always been to reach out and connect with others who may share my enthusiasms already or to inspire those who are newly interested. As blogging was new to me it’s been a learning experience; just dealing with the intricacies of setting up my page was challenging enough. Once I’d entered that world I found it was awash with blogs on every subject imaginable. This made me pause and consider why my offerings would even have any impact. I considered that I was possibly just adding to the already enormous amount of ‘word pollution’ already out there. Friends dismissed that idea and told me to go ahead, I had something to offer. So I did and when I received a response I was shocked and pleasantly uplifted. I carried on and emails would appear in my inbox telling me so and so had ‘liked’ or was following my blog. There was an erratic nature to this and although flattering didn’t really give me the sense of connection I really sought. I feel I may be a failure in this respect; no amount of virtual contact, least of all the appearance of a gravatar image in the ‘like’ section is really going to supply the nourishment I seek. Some may say that I’m being unrealistic and that I should be grateful people take the time to read & ‘like’ my posts. I am grateful and I do reciprocate. There have been some wonderful and uplifting stories to which I have responded with deep respect. Sometimes, however I’m left feeling that there is a manipulative aspect to blogging – you read mine and I’ll read yours… My inner cynic clearly feels provoked! Having spent time in reflection I am writing this as a means to clarify my thoughts and to potentially learn from others how they deal with their experiences in blog world. I realise my writing may not be the best but people I respect say it is good. If I don’t receive regular feedback, how can I really know? Perhaps I’m just screaming into the void? Perhaps my skills need growing? Or there is a perspective or two I have completely overlooked. I’ve experienced some challenge lately that has been painful and I’m feeling the lack of encouragement. These are all very human experiences and I share them in an effort to be transparent. Challenge is always with us and I know from experience that there can be wonderful rewards attached to facing our challenges and yet right now some dark shadow material is stealing my clarity. I can only pray that all will become clear in due course.The one thing I do know is that my garden never ceases to provide both joy and solace. The beauty, the creativity and the natural order culminating in death has taught me many wise and valuable lessons. If , as it seems, I am not able to share my experiences in a way that is useful, perhaps it’s time to follow the garden’s example and let the natural order begin the process of decay.
Everywhere around me this morning my eye catches the vibrating reflections of sunlight on water, on spider-web filament, the veil-like wings of bee. It is beautifully warm with a crisp gentle breeze blowing quiet notes in the background. I can barely hear the water as it goes over the falls; only the vibrant movement of the sun’s reflected journey through the rocks tells of its aliveness. There is such stillness today; a feeling of lightness and clarity in the garden. Like the wide held arms of a welcoming Mother she gathers me in.
I sit, the sun warming my face and arms, feeling back in time to all those who sat before me experiencing that same golden kiss. I glory in a visitation from the gentle Mother, her quiet presence a harbinger to new and exciting possibilities. At first I think she has held her breath; but no, there is a gentle, even pulsing. Time slows down, the garden breathes in and out in time with Her breath as she prepares for rest. I know that soon, she will withdraw to her bower; days will shorten further and icy cold will be evidence of her unavailability. She leaves us reminders of her love in the glorious reds and oranges of dying leaves, winter flowering Kniphofias and Agaves; the flames of the hearth in lieu of the rays of the sun. She cares for us even in the darkest days as she incubates the new world, soon to be reborn.