It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. In the meantime, life marches on, chiming changes all around us – some good, some not so welcome.
During moments of contemplation, I’ve come to see anew the beauty my courtyard garden holds for the very fact of being ‘contained’. The walls surrounding my secret little oasis are effective barriers to the outside world. They also serve to contain what lies within. A contained space means a manageable space to me.
The same idea of ‘containment’ reflects life for many of us in these uncertain times. As governments strive to contain the COVID19 virus, countries close their borders and insist on ‘social distancing’ or quarantining – a means of isolating as many people as possible from infection.
I have practised the containment strategy in my courtyard garden. And yes, it works. Recent extreme climate conditions have tested normally hardy plants. Too much water, or not enough. Too much heat for weeks on end. And then my irrigation failed while I was away – disaster for many of my potted plants.
My impatiens flowered spectacularly all summer then suddenly wilted and rotted at the stems. Whatever the cause, it seemed to be contagious, affecting neighbouring plants. However, with a little thought, heavy pruning and some quarantining, I’ve managed to contain the damage, limit what could have been an unmitigated disaster.
But containment doesn’t have to mean total isolation for my garden any more than it does for populations or individuals. On the contrary, I can propagate or bring in new plants when old ones fail, just as we can remain connected to each other, albeit virtually, in our technological age.
Experiencing less ‘busy’ and less ‘hurry’, gifts me with time to reconnect with myself and what is important to me. Kind of like pressing the pause button, allowing for some breathing space.
While that’s a comfort, I want to reveal the ‘so easy to overlook’ silver lining. In challenging times we tend to become short sighted, focused entirely on the problem and not the opportunities it offers. It’s not enough to merely survive a crisis. We must thrive in spite of it. We must learn, innovate and collaborate our way through the challenges. Most of all, I remind myself to remain kind. Anything less is not called living.
In adversity lies opportunityParaphrasing Albert Einstein
Thank you for reading to the end. And thank you to those faithful readers for giving me a gentle nudge – you know who you are. I’m off to praise my garden now for its resilience and the life lessons it offers me every day.