|Knocknarea in a silver sea|
I was thinking about variety today. How rich and diverse everything is. So many different plants, and landscapes - personalities - friends.
It was the friends that started the thought process.
Each friendship is a microcosm - a spectrum - all of its own, containing the same essential elements as others perhaps, but different dynamics, different points of contact, different anchorings.
And each is indispensable to the nurturing of our wellbeing, the feeding of our souls.
And through some indefinable, blind instinct, we turn to the friend who can give us what we need precisely when we need it.
|Rosa Crazy For You|
I poured out my heart to someone this morning - someone who becomes increasingly dear the more I get to know her. It was a moment of spontaneity - an unexpected outburst that tapped into a slowly, oh-so-slowly healing well of distress that lies very shallowly buried beneath my surface.
I felt afterwards that I had burdened her with something that burdens me, and apologised.
She smiled and shook her head. 'Don't! You haven't!' she said.
She hugged me tightly, and I know she meant it.
She wasn't burdened, but I have felt lighter all day for the loss of it, for the release.
How grateful I am.
Little by little, the healing steals in like winter sunlight - barely discernible, but effective, and, ultimately, self-perpetuating.
And this afternoon another friend's words came to mind.
While I was out replenishing the sadly depleted garden tool department - there is only so much you can achieve with a one-pronged fork and holey gloves - I inevitably got waylaid by the glorious plants on offer.
I have always found that the plant-buying triangle loops nose-to-tail as surely as night follows day.
First there is the delight at discovery, then there is the glorious vision of the plant embellishing your very own garden, and later there is invariably the pang of guilt when you remember those imminent household bills whose budget you have just wantonly slashed.
I confided this to my friend a year or two ago.
'Don't,' she said. 'Your garden is your art. You have to let it out.'
And she was right.
I'm not the quickest, but there is one thing I have learned, which is that we stopper our creativity at our peril.
I believe it's the cause of half the frustration and unhappiness in the world.
Years ago, a third friend said something to me that I have consciously tried to take to heart ever since.
I haven't always been successful, but there's no doubt in my mind that she went right to the crux of it.
'Don't worry about anything as trivial as money,' she said.
Neither of us had any money at the time, and still don't. Like most people in Ireland, I'm constantly going through my coat pockets in the hope of finding a fiver and always grateful beyond words for any windfall that keeps me afloat, but that's missing the point of what she meant.
It took me awhile to 'retrain' myself - I remember well the nights I used to spend lying awake grinding my teeth over finances. I still worry about all kinds of other rubbish, but I've just about got there on the money bit.
Somehow the electricity bill will get paid. Maybe we'll have to live on beans on toast for awhile - again. (It's known as a Gourmet Treat in our house.) Maybe we'll end up selling all our worldly goods at a carboot sale, but ultimately, which is more important? Something that makes your heart sing, or all the bills paid?
Life is short, and as far as I can make out, richness isn't about money, it's about the simple, beautiful, ordinary things and people that surround us. It's about walking round my garden with my first cup of tea and enjoying every new flower. Perhaps that all sounds a bit naive or twee, but I think the key to being happy and fulfilled has little to do with hard currency, it's about doing the thing I was born to do. I am a writer and I love gardens. Those two things are what give me equilibrium, and it doesn't matter if I have spent the electricity money on a new rose or a purple passion flower. Just as it doesn't matter that I have written this post instead of clearing up the kitchen and getting supper ready. Getting in a tizz about the ups and downs of everyday life is so easy, but it's the surest way I know of neutering the creative spirit - the individual, intrinsic, elusive essence that waits in each of us to be discovered and used.
So, dear friends, how glad I am to have you.
I think it must be because of you that when I can't sleep in the wee small hours, I don't lie in bed wrestling the black dog that walks the night, I get up and join my own, real, sleeping hounds in the kitchen, put the kettle on and write, or immerse myself in a book of other people's inspirational gardens - sometimes for hours on end. I often feel quite tired the next day, but not fraught, or hunted, or guilty! And little by little, the hurts we all carry can be healed, and nothing is wasted, nothing is lost. Every part of our life has a bearing on what we produce.
Don't is generally considered a negative command, but sometimes it takes a friend to turn it into a life-line of positivity.
Thank you, dear friends.
|Purple Passion Flower|