Rain dripping down my back, hands wet and muddy, boots caked with soil, fitting stones in to a repaired wall, just like old times. Even better than wild swimming....
The raised beds had started to collapse so now the growing season has mainly ended its time to get them sorted. I do have garlic and broad beans to plant next month and the old compost to spread over the soil before winter sets in. At this time of year the leaves are falling, we still have Dahlias and Zinnia flowering well, the Nerine bowdenii with bright pink arching flowers looks startling and bold, as if dressed up for a girls night out.
I have moved the old compost out of its bay and turned the one next to it into the newly empty space. Beneath the recent veg. pealings and cut back leaves I get to the middle layer where hundreds of red compost worms squirm as I disturb their work. Small toadlets crawl away from my pitch fork to hide in the leaves far enough away from this interloper, their secure warm larder upended and disturbed. Frogs and toads are my favourite creatures so I always stand back and let them continue their journeys.
It is reassuring to be a part of seasons change. What I do now will give me space and place for the oncoming work. In this world which operates independently from what we do the growth and decay of natures harvest follows it's evolved cycle. It's delicate checks and balances are just that, finely balanced. We now see vividly and with total clarity how when we push beyond the boundaries of natures tolerance we create a maelstrom of conflict for ourselves. Nature does respond to challenges, it is not a static entity and we will respond to our current challenge. We will transition, there will be some evolving, we will gain insights and may be wiser. We may even recognise that what we have is too precious to squander. This is where we are now.
and I think the poem by Derek Mahon expresses something of these thoughts
Everything is Going to be All Right
How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.
And finally, 20 Oaks
The plan is to collect 20 acorns and plant them in a pot
Next year, collect 21 and plant them in a pot
The year after, collect 22 and so on.
I will start this off with my grandchildren, Peggy and Alice when they visit us at half term. We will collect the acorns from Torrington Commons where there are thousands of big fat acorns this year. This year is a Mast year which occurs approximately every 5-10 years, when trees like oak and beech produce a bumper crop of seeds. The seed will be sown in pots and placed in a cold frame. In ten years time when the girls are in their late teens we may be able to plant these trees around the places we live. If lots of people do this we will have lots of trees.
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