I am drinking night-time tea, writing, as if to write to a lover of feelings yet to be spoken.
I’ve been in the garden today. I sometimes wish my Nan was still alive so I could ask her: ‘Is this what it felt like for you?’ She was a big gardener. I thought it must have been because she liked gardens.
I want to ask her if she, too, felt the whisper of the earth and was afraid to tell us. I want to ask her if delicate roots intrigued her, if rose buds felt like dear, sweet children.
Such beautiful voices have been suppressed. Beautiful voices of truth and earthly wisdom, voices of absolute love and dear, dear compassion.
You will not silence me, fearful past.
I will speak of this beauty.
I will shout it, and the world will know its truth.
And no one is more surprised than I am that my plant journey has taken me this way. It was just the way of the wind and so I flew there, in a great big gust of life, and suddenly I’d begun propagating succulents.
What you do is: you take a leaf from the plant and you let it sit in the world to do nothing for a while. The idea is that the wound (where the leaf tore from the plant) dries out and, when it does, you place the leaf on a bed of soil and lightly mist over the coming weeks. That’s when it happens. That’s when the teeny tiny roots appear.
Such adorable little roots.
My little darlings have begun to dig their arms so deep into the soil that, when tugged, they come away with an arm full of soil, clinging like little Koala arms to the soil below.
They remind me of my baby girl. The way she clings to me as I wander about the house, knowing I am her only life line, the one she needs to feed her and grow her perfectly into this big old world.
My succulent babies are the same. They cling to their Mother (Mother Nature) and she breathes them to life as they hold her.
What did I actually do for others, apart from give them my love? What did I do to help lift their burdens, to help them maximise their true life potential by easing (or helping to expand) life for them in some small, practical way. There were openings and offerings on occasion, of course, but I never did figure out how practical kindness worked when it was outwards facing and flowing.
The practical part was where I tended to get stuck. I’d have a beautiful, heart-warming idea and then I would find some excuse not to follow through. Partly it was because I was (cough: am) a massive procrastinator. More often than not, though, my practical kindness was thwarted by selfishness.
During the time I was separated from my husband — during the very little money part, during the very little time part, during the depression part — I found myself needing to accept the help of others, really for the very first time in my adult life. And, finally, I learned the importance of being there for others.
I did my Pop’s garden, today—I’m ashamed to say, for the first time (usually I’d leave it to my aunties and uncles). But today, I bought the most beautiful statue I could find at the gardening shop, plonked her in the garden bed by the back door, and pruned until a lovely halo of flowers surrounded her soft-grey concrete. Here I was using my kindness and creativity to practically help my most cherished humans. And I knew it was right.
Usually I’d just sit there on family visits, and we’d have tea, and we’d chatter and laugh, and I’d go home feeling beautifully fulfilled and very much loved. Quite selfishly fulfilled, I would say, looking back, now. Today, though, I gave back. And it truly did feel like I had come home.
My Nan was the gardener of the family. She had the softest, kindest heart, with a great big burst of generosity and passion coursing through her soul, and she loved that garden just as much as she loved her family. Roses were her favourite. And now they are mine, probably because they were hers.
So I’m going to make it my mission (well, one of them) to put all my heart and soul into that garden. For my family. Because I love them so dearly, and because they’ve given and given and given to me, in more ways than I’d ever be able to recall.