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.
The ocean roar of wind crashes through the canopy of the eucalypts surrounding the garden with as much power and fury as a west coast beach in a storm. Down below all is calm and bathed in warm sunlight, the merest waving of leaves a pale reflection of what occurs above. Spring continues her unfolding – one step forward, two steps back, emerging then finding things not entirely to her liking she retreats again. It’s as though Persephone isn’t fully prepared to give up her dark lover.
For me too, I’m happy to lay in bed on cold and rainy days, reading a book and contemplating; only to find the next day I’m sun-seduced into a full days garden activity – planting, seed sowing, dreaming up my next project. The creatures also respond to the call of the sun; the garden is full of birds again today, bees are out gathering pollen with serious intent. Fortunately the blossoms seem to have timed their arrival to avoid the stormy period so an abundant harvest is still possible. Although, until Spring has fully unfolded and all her petals have dropped there are no guarantees – she is youthful fickleness – a lesson in both the discomfort and pleasure of transformation. As I embrace the lesson I feel a child-like curiosity and anticipation arise and a quiet acceptance that it is all out of my hands.
This Christmas I received many gifts. None came wrapped in pretty paper with large bows. I actually thought Christmas was passing me by to begin with. Whilst everyone round me experienced the joys of family and free time I journeyed to the underworld and like Persephone I resisted frantically. It took a couple of weeks to uncurl from my foetal ball and realise that the end of the world hadn’t come. Finally as my nervous system relaxed and my perspective shifted I no longer regretted eating those three pomegranate seeds. Pluto’s underworld is, of course, full of riches. If only we can sit with our terror long enough to calm we will receive them. And that is what I did. So many silver linings to this cloud. A doctor who was locuming at my local practise who had a strong Integral faith attended to the healing of body and soul. My beloved husband who took care of me and all the challenges of home and visitors. My friends who gave up time with their families and their own time off to sit with me. My surgeon and my support team who accompanied me. My mum who put aside her own fear of rejection to bring me close when things were darkest. The calming peace of my garden where I grounded my inner disturbance. All these gifts have led to a further opening of my heart as i allowed myself to receive and receive. Never have three pomegranate seeds been such a rich harvest. My lesson? Well, that the very thing I think will destroy me makes me anew. I was as equally grateful for the gifts as I am for the suffering. In the garden of my soul many weeds have been pulled and flowers are flourishing, especially the pomegranate.