Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Coming Home.

Yesterday, The Land gave me a Gift. It came by way of a Lesson.

I went to a Purple Emperor Wood in another county and I saw four, chasing each other high up among the boughs.

It should have made me happy, but it didn't.

I went out into the garden when I got home and I sat down and I asked him why?

And the garden smiled, and showed me a flower. 

On the flower was a beetle, a type of Soldier Beetle quietly nectaring away, peaceful and serene in the middle of the bloom.


It was one I hadn't seen before. I worked out who he was and added him to my garden list. It made me feel happy to think that he is new to the garden, that he has chosen to come and make his home here, where all wild things are welcome.

Then the garden showed me a perfect small white butterfly, resting for a moment on a leaf.


I have been trying to photograph this small white butterfly for weeks, but the photograph just wouldn't come.

Next, he showed me the way the hollyhocks had come into bloom that morning while I had been away.


And I looked and saw the swing beside them, and I remembered how our boys used to love it, the hours they spent swinging on it beneath the apple tree. How we used to help them up onto it when they were too little to reach it by themselves. And in my mind's eye I relived a memory long-forgotten and saw again the way they hooked one knee up on to the bench beneath the swing and levered themselves up with an arm hooked over the swing and around the rope, impatient with assistance as they grew older and became more determined to attain the independence that needed reaching for. And I smiled at the memory and considered how time has passed in this place where I tend to think few years have moved.

Then the garden showed me how eight Oak Sawfly children are nibbling through a fresh, young oak leaf.


And I remembered finding the acorn and planting it in the Good Brown Earth in a pot last winter, and saying a blessing over it and labelling the pot acorn sleeping, please do not tip out his soil. And I remembered too the smile that it gave me when I saw the first leaves breaking the surface this spring.

Then the garden showed me two more soldier beetles who had found each other among the blooms in the wildflower turf and were enjoying what L would call when he was little a lovely mate.


And I remembered M giving me the turf for my birthday this Spring and how it was the best present ever.

Then the garden showed me how the corn marigolds that also grow there look close up.

 
And the way the light shines through the poppies and makes them look like crepe paper.


And I remembered how that area of the garden was an overgrown tangle of stalks last year and how I agonised about what the right thing was to do for it for months and months. I remembered the many conversations we had about it, the garden and I, tossing ideas back and forth, starting on false starts and retracing my steps. Fundamental to these conversations was the need to care for all the small wild things that are so often over-looked. And I thought: how rich and colourful it is now, how much shelter there is and food sources and places to breed and raise new life and sleep the winter through safely. And how much I enjoy spending time in that part of the garden, wandering among the flowers and taking pictures of the insects, and how visitors to the house have to walk past it on their way to the front door and remark on how beautiful it is. 

Next the garden showed me the sunlight sparkling behind the clematis that climbs over the pergola.

 
And I remembered M and his father building that pergola years ago from timber that came from the woods on the farm where M grew up. The farm that his parents nurtured for fifty years, farming it organically long before it was fashionable to do so, from an ability to put an ear to the soil and hear how it wanted to be. The farm they left three years ago when old age crept close and they decided it was time to move on.

Next the garden showed me how the Bergamot flower had come into bloom while I was away chasing Emperors on someone else's land.

 
And I marvelled at the exotic nature of the blooms and remembered sowing the seeds carefully with a whispered prayer for their germination two spring's ago, and the disappointment I felt when nothing came up last summer.

Then he showed me deep red roses clustered in a pot on the patio.


And I remembered the person who gave them to me, how special she is to me, how long we have known one another and the things we have been through and shared that have brought us to now. And I remembered how sad and withered and small the blooms were last summer, because the rose had been overlooked in a too-small pot for too long. And how I moved them to a larger pot over the winter to give them space to grow and bloom.

Next he showed me simple sunlight through the wisteria leaves.


And I thought about the pigeons who are nesting deep within its protective arms, and the Children they had last year and those they will have this year, too.

And then he showed me another hollyhock, a different colour to the first but also newly out that day.


And I thought about how different all the colours are in nature, how simple, how beautiful, how perfect.

And then, finally, he showed me the tip of a Squirrel's tail investigating the grasses over the fence by the lake.


And that made me smile, because it reminded me of Teddy, who, whenever he sees a squirrel, becomes suddenly, utterly, completely and inexplicably convinced that he too can climb trees. It is a Sight To See, an Instant Cure For Melancholy.

And I realised that I am where I am meant to be and there is no need to go off chasing Other Things through Other Lands.

CT.
 

43 comments:

  1. So true and such a great reminder to appreciate what we have, rather than notice what we don't. x

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. It's sometimes necessary to have those moments, those reminders I think x

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  2. There's no place like home.
    Jane x

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    1. JANE - I'm not getting your posts in my emails x
      CT, it's true the grass isn't always greener xx

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  3. Beautifully written, and a wonderful homily on chasing rainbows which, however wonderful they are when you finally get one, is never as good as the rainbow at the end of your garden . . .

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    1. Thank you BB. A moment of quiet reflection here and there does no harm.

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  4. Such an eloquent blog post with equally stunning pictures. We share a lot in common. Thank you.

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    1. I think we do too, Sarah, having had a peak at your blog.

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  5. You write beautifully! How true, also - I think like this when I see crowds of tourists pushing each other aside to photograph a 'sight', just ticking it off on a list of Things Seen. What is the point?

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    1. Thank you, Stephanie. It's good to take a moment to stand back once in a while I think.

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  6. A perfect post getting down to the nitty-gritty of life.

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  7. Always be content with what you have.

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  8. CT, this is such a beautiful and moving post, you've expressed so well what is true about so much of life. The good stuff is right here, under our noses. I have a bit of a lump in my throat now. Bless the gardens, that bring so much richness. A little piece of land to look after for a while. We have great responsibility to make them good places for the other creatures that share our planet. You're doing that beautifully. CJ xx PS, There's a lake? How wonderful!

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    1. I love what you said about a little piece of land to look after for a while- it's so true, we are but passing guardians of these places. xx

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  9. Great post CT, nice photos too.

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  10. I loved that last paragraph about Teddy and the squirrel's tail, but mostly I just loved this very lovely post. I could feel your words as you created them, nothing but a lovely, very touching post. lol

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    1. He makes me smile so much, that lad. His squirrel obsession has been with him since he was a tiny pup and shows no sign of fading as he grows older... x

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  11. It's taken me a long time to realise that you don't have to go far to see all you need to see. How right you are.
    Briony
    x

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    1. Someone once wrote that in your youth all you want to do is get away, and in more mature years all you want to do is come home.

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  12. Thank you for your lovely walk around your garden I feel nice and relaxed and ready for the afternoon at the computer in my office now.

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  13. Oh my lovely what a wonderfully moving post, Are you okay? Sometimes we need to sit still at home & take stock of what we have under our noses. I have a little oakling too, lord knows how it ended up in my front garden but it's there. I shall investigate it for Oak Sawfly, their cousins are munching through my gooseberry & red currant leaves as I type. I hope your feeling much more perkier now. Take care my dear. x

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    1. I've always been more of a home person than an adventurer. I feel the connection with the land very strongly. Monday was an interesting, thought-provoking experience. I am fine honey- but thank you for your concern x

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    1. It does, doesn't it? I know you feel this too x

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  15. What a special post today. Love the thoughts that took you out to your beautiful garden and day.
    Home is "just' home to us but sometimes we need to see how special it is. A whole new world.
    I love hollyhocks and must try to plant some.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Many thanks, Parsnip. We have hollyhocks springing up all over the garden. There seems to be a new one each year. Beautiful plants x

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  16. I read this post yesterday CT but was feeling a bit sad about missing my daughter who's just moved in to her second year university house with her boyfriend. But I understand exactly what you mean about home and thanks to you I think we're all noticing more the little things that make home so special.

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    1. That must be hard for you. So many stages in having children, each one tough in its own way x

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  17. Sorry you did not get to have fun looking for Purple Emperor Butterfly, I know how excited you were to go looking for them, me thinks you are all a bit natured out... end of term and you have been soooo busy, I think your garden was there to give you a big hug. Your flowers look lovely especially the roses. Hope you have time to rest and re-charge.
    Take care...
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thanks honey :o)

      I've decided to let the flutters come to me instead- too much avid seeking things out isn't so good for the soul (for me, anyway) x

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  18. thank you for the tour of your beautiful patch...and for the reminder of the ordinary magic to be found right outside our doors. it's a great gift to be able to deeply appreciate the small things. which really aren't so small after all. xo

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  19. What a beautiful post and so true, when I thought my time on this earth was going to be cut short, I didn't want to rush around to see other lands, I just wanted to be home.

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  20. A beautiful post and loved reading the thoughts and memories of what you saw around you. Sarah x

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  21. A lovely post and one that resonates very much with me. I am away a lot right now and time at home is precious and the place where I live very beautiful. I always try to see it properly but this post makes me feel there are things I must be missing!

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    1. When I'm in the garden I try to notice the small things, to get down on their level. It is amazing what's there when you look for it. Thank you for the lovely comment, Elizabeth.

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x