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  • thewestendfs

musings of a nature addict


Today I've been out gardening in the intermittent rain - it might sound mad, I know but it was all light, squally showers rather than pouring and I'd already begun a pre-emptive spring clean of the cupboards indoors so my 'doing' energy was up.


Now sitting back in the sun's rays that are peeping through the clouds with a lovely brew of tea, I've had time to think about why gardening feels so good; like housekeeping for the soul it blows out the internal cobwebs, works the body and calms the mind.


For me, from that first act of digging in the earth, pulling out weeds and turning over the rich, life-giving soil, gardening is therapeutic. It gets the blood running, extraneous thoughts fall aside and are quieted. I'm inspired to give attentive care to the patch I'm working on. This time of year I like to cut back any lingering dead wood, pull out invasive grasses and weeds that have crept among the other plants while I wasn't looking. I gently condition the soil with trace elements and fish emulsion and even sprinkle a few generous handfuls of cheeky seeds in preparation for the coming spring. It's cheering, knowing all that lovely life is snuggled under the soil ready to sprout up and embrace the sun given the first opportunity.


It's easy to consider the rewards of gardening as a long-game kind of outcome but let's not kid ourselves, many of them come immediately - they may not be showy like beautiful blooms or delicious fruits but they are there. The ruffled look and smell of freshly turned earth is reminiscent of being in the fresh air of the countryside. Wondering what the tiny emerging seedlings will become when you've forgotten what you've sowed where. Knowing you've enriched it in preparation for your plants to feed well and grow strong is an act of dedicated care. Perhaps next time you're in the garden you might take a moment to sit back and look over your handiwork, acknowledging that the effort and care you've put in, how it looks noticeably fresh and fertile, knowing that your garden will be even more lovely come growth, flowering and fruiting time.



Like a lot of things in life, the way we view our garden depends on the perspective we choose to view it from. Where some may see bare earth as just dirt and a lack of anything nice, others may look at it as something exciting of great potential; knowing that time, a little care and attention can bring from that patch of dirt the greatest rewards. It's quite amazing really that so many of us can spend so much of our time chasing an elusive feeling of harmonious satisfaction or let's say a quiet mind without all that stress noise going on. We might seek material pleasures to attain that feeling, hoping that if we work enough we might perhaps be able to afford the things that will gift us that peace of mind.


But it's all there already, really, if we open up to it, isn't it? Whether it's gazing out at a garden, going for a crisp autumn walk in the misty hills, noticing a fabulous sunset or moon or stars, hearing birdsong, arranging flowers, walking your dog, being at the beach, cloud gazing - it doesn't matter so much what the activity is, more the act of observing quietly and deeply, letting all of the wonder and the beauty of the world in. Choosing to embrace and absorb rather than brushing it aside in favour of being too busy, stressed or preoccupied in (ironically) chasing the dream of peacefulness that has been there, all around us us all along.


We need never feel guilty for stopping to enjoy the rich world around us, knowing we are part of the magic of the whole. It's so easy to forget with bills to pay, jobs to hold down, children to raise, whatever plethora of responsibilities we hold as our own. But what a shame, what an absolute waste of sheer wonder and beauty if we don't make a conscious effort to stop, look, engage, breathe it in, enjoy it now and then, - or every day - looking for all the good that is contained in the complexity of the natural world around us. It's not a waste of time and it's not even self-indulgent. I'd go so far as to say that it is imperative to keeping our peace of mind intact and accessible to us whenever we need it.



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