I am not the best gardener. I am not proud of this fact. My cack green handedness was planted early. I grew up with straight fences and neat houses and a town planning that allowed for little untamed natural mess.
I could try harder to tend the garden but I prefer to stand back and let my partner and daughter fill the space with their love. I find relief and joy in what they sow and help grow. They make breathing spaces for wildlife to build homes and for plants to thrive. Unlike other endeavours, I can think of, the garden continually loves them back.
My favourite spot is the patch next to the kitchen window. It has a sage bush and a red flowering plant (what is it called?) Ginger headed bees are lured by the pollen and the long branches attract birds to sit. Our cat patiently watches them from inside the window pane. When it is warm the whole family, including the cat, eat our lunch outside next to the patch – everyone just bee-ing side by side.
Last summer wasps made a nest in our roof. I pressed my ear up to plasterboard to hear their collective hum. It vibrated in my eardrums and coursed through my body as though occupying a space inside me rather than the wall. We couldn’t remove the nest without scaffolding outside and so we spent the summer watching black marks fly in and out tiny gaps in the tiles. The wasps hardly bothered us in the end and I wondered about my first reaction to their proximity in our lives – were they the pest or was that us?
Harder to ignore these days is the ‘pest’ that is Covid 19. Without a solution, an interior scaffolding of sorts, people have to take a back seat. Personally I’m not sure I needed reminding of the way nature rules, a life spent in a woman’s body I already know the fact quite well. It’s the belief we can overcome every problem with technology that puzzles me. Maybe we should just respect nature a bit more – but we’ll see.