Very grateful for the last two days away from work, for dry days, and a hint of winter sun. It’s meant that I’ve managed to get out into the garden and get my hands dirty, and as you know that is my happy place!
Apart from ballet classes as a kid, and long walks on the beach, I have pretty much hated any form of exercise. Combine that with my love of baking and ice-cream and it accounts for my rather potato-like shape right now. But over the last two days, between us me and my husband have dug holes and planted 2 hydrangeas, 2 hellebores and 6 primroses, dug a big hole and made a wildlife pond, complete with a big pile of rocks to put in and around, moved four compost bins full of compost and manure to a new home in the garden, whilst weeding and topping up all the vegetable beds. Now this is absolutely my idea of exercise.
Now I have gone on about it before, but I also find gardening is pretty beneficial to my mental health. It allows me to focus completely on a task, and turn off all of the other constant stream of thoughts in my head. I don’t worry about work, about how much my children will need to pay for therapy when they grow up, or whether they’ll already be in prison by that point, I don’t worry about money or whether I have squandered my life. Decisions are easy and with little consequence. Nobody dies if I plant my hydrangea in a less than ideal place. I may need to dig it up and move it, at worst it dies and I get a new one, or another plant to take its place. And in the meantime I am constantly learning about my plants, how they grow and change, where they thrive and look their best, or the ones that without fail get decimated by the slugs.
So on the day that a man I totally disagree with got inaugurated as president, I got covered in compost, and marvelled at the tiny snowdrops in flower, and had a very hot shower listening to some favourite songs, and then enjoyed a glass of wine whilst my children play Lego games on the iPad. I’m pretty happy about that.
So it may be freezing, there may still be five long days until payday, our credit card bill might be huge after our fridge-freezer died, I may have a long weekend at work ahead of me, and the apocalypse may be around the corner. But time spent gardening always leaves me positive. I am ridiculously excited at every sight of a flower bud, a new green leaf about to erupt, a bulb poking through the frosty ground. The thought of how the garden will look this summer, of time sat out on the bench watching the bees with the sun on my face, maybe even tadpoles in our new pond, it just makes me so uncomplicatedly happy. Even if the peonies never appear above the ground, if all my lupins get eaten by slugs again, and we never harvest a single goldengage, there is always something to look forward to, and an excuse to visit the garden centre. And in my works that can only be a good thing!