I am drowning in green waste! The large bag I keep for that purpose is overflowing. If the worms in my worm farm had arms they’d be throwing them up in the air protesting ‘no more! We can’t eat another thing!’
Some plants in my tiny courtyard are turning brown and shrivelling back to the earth from which they sprang. I collect what seems like a mountain of dead leaves every day. But this isn’t unexpected. It’s winter after all. While most of my plants are evergreen, deciduous gingers and other exotics are shedding, dying back and making ready for the new. It’s the natural cycle of life. Some have long lives and others short ones. What’s gone before isn’t always a reliable indicator.
‘Who knows whether the gods will add tomorrow to the present hour?’ ~Horace
When I think about this I realise how the cycles of nature inform my expectations of the life span. For the deciduous gingers, life of the upper part of the plant can be measured in three seasons; its root system however, lasts many seasons. Our own, if we are lucky, spans many many more. But if I’m honest I see anomalies exist; accidents do happen and plagues, disease and disasters are indiscriminately visited upon all living things – there is no absolute certainty in life.
The thing is we seem to have an innate confidence in getting our biblical allocation of three score years and ten, at the very least.
A number of events in recent weeks has jolted me into reconsidering this premise. None of us has a guarantee. There is no Fair Trading authority, no Life-span Ombudsman to complain to if we are short changed. Life is tenuous. Nature in my garden rudely thrusts the evidence of this right under my averted gaze. Grasshoppers destroyed so many plants this year. Extreme weather tested others.
This week, I learned of the Orlando massacre, a child taken by an alligator. I heard a friend faces a life-limiting disease. A young nephew experienced serious brain trauma.
Life is tenuous.
Don’t waste a minute.
Dance on the clock!
Gather ye rose-buds while ye may;
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying.