Nurturing

My garden is blooming and beautiful. I love it so much. A number of years ago, when I was extremely unwell with severe dissociation, I read the book Women Who Run With The Wolves, which I loved. One of the suggestions was to grow things, to touch earth and become accustomed to the cycles of nature, of seasons, of life and death, of the needs of things that grow. Since that time, I’ve always had a garden, even if it was only some jonquils in a pot. Many plants have a special link for me, remind me of someone I have loved, or a time in my life, or a dream I’ve had. I bought some of these plants last year to celebrate the news that it seems I have intact fertility and will hopefully be able to have a child.
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When I started growing things, I found myself slowly learning things I had forgotten in awful circumstances. In the grips of profound self hate, nurturing my plants was a small but powerful reminder that things grow best when they are loved rather than starved.

There’s a certain stereotype of the young person who has escaped from an abusive background, who find themselves something to nurture – a house full of cats, a volunteer role at the local nursing home, or a garden full of plants to tend. Somewhere in that act, I gradually began to learn how to tend for myself. It’s a process I’ve seen many people go through, people with such amazing qualities of generosity, compassion, tenderness, or wisdom, who have not yet learned how to treat themselves with this kindness, but who pour them out on others in a tangle of love and need and hope. For others they’ve yet to learn how to nurture, how to help something to live, to watch for signs of stress, to learn the language of need for another. They have yet to learn how to be still and listen, the attentiveness of love.

I remember the very first time I grew plants from seed, what a miracle it seemed to me. How magic that from these small inert bits of brown matter, green life springs. The incredible fertility of life, that from one seed, comes a plant that creates many many seeds. That all things die. That some things that I thought would grow, under my care, will not, and others that are thought to be difficult grow readily. Despite all knowledge there is mystery, even in this. Gardens reward attention, knowledge, and skill; with beauty and abundance. These observations are so simple and yet I find them deeply moving. Standing with bare feet on earth, in rain, wind on my skin, hands in soil, I find metaphors for the tending of my soul, of my family and friends, my world.
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I find a sense of peace and connection in my garden. I hope you have or find places in your life that speak to you also.

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