If anyone had told me a scant year ago that I would find myself scouring gardening websites, tending to my precious plants every few days with the zeal of a new mummy, I would have laughed in their face. ME, queen of the black thumbs? In my city apartment, I could never keep anything alive . I'm convinced now that it must've been due to the high speed winds on the 20th floor balcony, because now, most things seem to be thriving. I'm guessing it also helps that I'm no longer working 17 hour days, and can devote time to this new hobby.
I have loved watching the few edible plants I have, sprout and grow. It makes me incredulous everytime I see how much things can grow in just a couple of days - my lemon trees are fruiting, the tomato plant (above) have an exciting bounty ripening steadily, the herbs are bushy and happy, and the jalapeno peppers are thriving!
Most importantly though - gardening has been like the cheapest therapy ever for me. It's given me an engrossing activity to keep my mind off my injury, and the limitations of living I've been grappling with for almost 7 months now. It's let me behold what I have felt to be a dimmed life, in new ways, especially when I see seemingly dead plants and nurse them back to life.
Watching precious, tiny green leaves begin to blossom where before there was just a bush of dead, brown branches - the daily vigil involved, the magic of watching it all unfurl before you... it makes me wonder if all kids should be taught to garden as part of a nature based school curriculum. I think it gives people a new perspective on peace, and understand the magic of small, daily, improvements and growth.
It's certainly helped me realise that any recovery I make isn't going to be overnight, and reliant to circumstances beyond my control, just as the plants grow slow, so will I. Being able to sniff my fragrant palms deeply after a session of picking fresh herbs truly reminds me of the senses I still do have, and to be grateful for them. Sipping my morning coffee in my garden, beholding the magic greenery that is all around me, lets me forget that I'm aching, sore, and stops me obsessively wishing I was back to living a normal, working, useful life. Yes, I miss being useful, and meaningful. And the plants help me remember to be calm, to be patient, to retain my dignity during a period when I decidedly feel none of those things.
My happiest moments last week, after I had a bad fall at the studio, were spend hobbling around the front garden, clipping some roses and buds for my windowsill. I'll be posting about all that very soon, but let me just tell you one thing.
If your heart is hurting, your head is clouded, your body failing you or your soul needs some pats, get yourself a few plants and immerse your attention amongst its welfare. It'll help, a lot.