It was September 2013 when I finally found an apartment, after living with my sister for 6 months, and those 4 months at Irish Lake after Tim died, and almost the first thing I asked my landlord was…”can I garden? Can I plant and move things and so forth, can I, can I?” He said yes… and here I am 6 years on.
There are times when I am out there in the garden, a narrow corridor that runs along the side of the house, sitting there on my stoop, mesmerized by the light, and I have to pinch myself – I did this! ME.
I envisioned it, and year after year carved it out. I created it never really knowing for certain what the future held, as a rented space there are numerous aspects out of my control. Still, I persevered, I lived in the now, and planted this, moved that, slowly, gradually, year after year, and here I am today.
This narrow nook I have made my own. A sanctuary, a sacred space, a place where I can be myself, my temenos.
The word, temenos, I found years ago, and to be honest I’m not sure anymore where I first saw it. When I started up this blog in those first days after Tim’s death, it represented more of an internal space, the blog being a outward expression of an internal thing.
Today, well today, it is an external thing, lush and green and right outside my door, whenever I need it.
This narrow nook of shade, this space underneath that Black Walnut tree, it moves me, improves me, sometimes even eludes me.
Such as this Tickseed (Coreopsis) – I do not know where it came from, I certainly didn’t plant it, but I do love it.
In garden-speak, this is what is referred to as a “volunteer”, something the birds’ poo’d out in flight, or blows in with the breeze, or planted by the faeries, take your pick, they are often a welcome surprise – like the Lungwort I wrote about a few weeks back.
I often just stand back, let it happen, watch, enjoy, see what will be will be.
A woodland, to my mind, should always have an essence of wild, a piece of the unknown, secret spots, the fixings for birds nest, the bugs to feed themselves, nectar for the butterflies and bees.
At some point with a woodland, a gardeners role becomes more caretaker than creator, if I’m honest. At some point you become one with the space, and you find it reflects a piece of you, the best pieces, the heart and soul of you.
To walk along the path, like meditation, I become lost, my mind is cleansed of all the other things, and I pull this, pick that one that has outlived its usefulness, water, move this over here to be happier, this is my role, this is my ritual, like a prayer.
I watch and listening, to bird song at dawn and dusk of the cardinal, or the happy sparrows that make their nests along the nooks and crannies of the eves of the house.
I have two watering holes this year, the Tiffany lampshade one I put in closer to my stoop, so I can catch a glimpse.
However, what I caught a glimpse of is the fluffy bombshell canine is using it as her own personal fancy smancy watering hole.
Now that the season has changed from spring to summer, those fragile Victorian lassies, the Ostrich Ferns, have wilted a tad, a little beat up, but holding their own as we’ve had a lot of the wet weather they enjoy.
Ol’Virgini the Creeper, well, she is strolling, rolling, charging forth hither and yon, and so I prune her now and again to get her to behave.
There is a serenity to a woodland, a quietness, shade from hot humid days, absorbing the scenery, the delight of watching the dancing light – like my own personal little forest, it is my own enchanted wood.
“I do believe in an everyday sort of magic — the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we’re alone.”Charles de Lint