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Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Karen at Artist’s Garden recently posted on ‘Time’.

Ever since, I’ve been thinking about it - which is, in part, because it was an interesting post and, in part, because I was thinking about it already; ever since I decided something wouldn’t matter because I’d be able to do it / see it - can’t remember what it was ‘it’ - ‘next year’.

It was the first time ‘next year’ had seemed a short time to wait. Whatever it was, it didn’t matter ‘now’. It felt odd to feel this. I’m usually impatient. If something doesn’t germinate, doesn’t grow, gets eaten - I get upset, cross, go on about it, can’t let it go - as if something which doesn’t work ‘now’ never will; it’s gone wrong and that’s the end of it - for ever.

I can remember where I was standing when this new feeling struck - by the blackcurrant bush - where I’d been pulling open curled, dead leaves to see what I take to be sawfly larvae. I don’t think this ‘next year’ feeling was associated with them but that sense that ‘next year is merely tomorrow’ was re-activated when, over the New Year, I was looking through pages of photographs from the last twelve months.

There were seedlings from February.

“February!” I thought. “Did I really have seedlings in February? That soon? I’d better get going!”

On to March.

“Flowers!” I thought. “Are there really flowers in March? So soon! How come I’ve never noticed how early everything is. How little time I need to wait till colour is restored.”

Perhaps, at this point, I should have panicked, realised this is a clear sign I must be growing old. Instead, I experienced a wonderful sense of release and peace. If everything comes round so quickly, anything which goes wrong now can be put right next year.

Karen has sent me seeds. California poppies which vanished from my garden last summer can re-appear this - migrant generations from her garden in Wales.

I’ve last year’s fox-gloves still in the ground, plus some little plants. The original packet said they were an annual variety but I treated them like biennials and they flowered a season after sowing. (Taller than they were supposed to too.) Will they re-flower or are they specially short-lived after all? Should I have nurtured the seedlings more to be replacements? Don’t know and, in a way, don’t care. There’s always next year.

6 comments: said...

It was a good year for foxglove here, many offspring. The weather and time have been playing tricks I think.

b-a-g said...

I know what you mean. I missed the boat planting bulbs this year.

elizabethm said...

Now I really, really like this. I am by nature the kind of person who finds time oppressive, all that winged chariot stuff at my heels but I love the idea that it all comes round again so it doesn't really matter. I might not be able to carry that thought into other parts of my life so I will start with the garden.

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

Yes the big advantage of growing older is that every thing comes around again quicker than it did before! I shall remember your words "anything which goes wrong now can be put right next year" ... I think it will be my motto for this gardening year.

I do hope that the california poppies grow and thrive - and if they vanish again ... I can send you more for next year

Jess said...

I wonder if you are my exact same age: I was sitting at my Dad's at Christmas this year and felt, for the the first time, like it hadn't been all that long ago since I'd been here the previous Christmas. Its a bit frightening!!!

PatioPatch said...

Esther, love your story of the blackcurrant epiphany. I realised that I was not young when my ususal Autumn mournfulness had vanished. Going with the flow is a very positive start to the New Year - Happy 2012