Story telling from Australia
I should be running through the house with my pants on fire*.
My lovely niece wrote to me several days ago about the small garden at the back of her house in England.
“We have had great success with our garden tomato plant (apart from some snail issues) but I worry that it might not enjoy the change in temperature. It sounds like your lovely garden is flourishing slowly but surely. You’re a lot more patient that I am…”
Patient? Oh what tangled webs we weave…!
The musings on this blog might appear calm but they’re preceded by days of rage and wailing, hours of complaints and misery, belligerent ill temper and petulant self-pity. I want results! I want action! Grow, damn you, why won’t you GROW?
I am just a big fat liar if this blog gives the impression of patience.
This has been a week of disappointment and fury that birds have eaten the rocket, strawberries are never going to flourish in that ridiculously expensive, ill-conceived ceramic pot – no matter how many times I feed the soil that dribbles out every time it’s watered – the tomato plant is all leaf and no flower and whoever planted camellias in the front garden was a fool. That was a stupid place to plant them, they will never flourish there so we should just rip them out and start again.
My default reaction has often been to rip something out and start again – from moving house, changing jobs or giving up on relationships, which could explain why I’ve lived in 35 different houses, taken on as many jobs and…well, let’s not count the number of broken hearts, mine or other peoples. Patient? I don’t think so.
Then Friday rolls around and I’m forced look at this garden and consider it anew.
Is it really so bad? The climbing rose is flourishing and this week I realised the camellia has, astonishingly, put on new growth. The new leaves are shiny and bright green, not sickly and mottled brown like last year. I thought it had been suffering from too much direct sunlight – stupid place to plant a camellia – but the improvement in its appearance belies that. Maybe it was the food I sprinkled a couple of months ago, or the liquid sulphur that changed the pH of the soil to make it more suitable for blueberries, or maybe it was a more regular watering regime. Who knows? Whatever it was, something must have worked because the camellias are starting to look healthy.
I did the work I just wasn’t willing to wait for the results.
I wrote this post sitting in my little back office, and as I sat there I looked out of the window at a small speck of spider. Day by day for the past week that spider has been weaving a web, stretched between the peace rose and the lemon tree. It’s been an industrious worker, scrabbling fine lines that unfurl as it teases out a pattern of delicate thread.
This morning that spider was still, quietly poised in the middle of its finished web, where it was shaded from the hot sun by the leaves of the lemon tree. Its job was done and it was waiting. Patiently waiting.
There’s a lesson for me in that spider’s stillness. No matter how much energy and effort I put into gardening, or writing, or anything else for that matter, there comes a time when all I can do – all I should do – is sit, watch and wait.
But I’d be a big fat liar if I said that was easy!
*Liar, Liar, Pants on fire! Does anyone else remember that chant from childhood?