A Pocket Of Absolute Contentment


From left to right: country road, iron fence, line of daffodils in a sunny field, a wandering spaniel, daffodils on a bank, bright and breezy

12/3/22 Saturday
Morning: coffee, sunshine, stretches in the warm light, crystal-cast rainbows on the walls. Dog walks stiffly between us and the kitchen, hoping to provoke breakfast. I drive to work, got my sunglasses on.
At work: I take a lunchtime walk. As I walk the wind picks up, clouds gather purposefully, the temperature drops- did not feel cold to me as I had set a warm pace. Not as speedy as the woman who runs out of her house in slippers, leaving her front door open, clutching a bunch of flowers. She calls to a lady in a red raincoat who turns and takes the flowers. Slipper lady walks back to her house, smiles awkwardly at me as she passes, her cheeks are flushed.
Back at work: YouTube beach scene on TV, about to get some novel writing done, heavy rain splatting on the windows. 

13/3/22 Sunday
Another lunchtime ramble, to Porthpean where I sat on a ledge and looked out: low deep cloud, green water, waves a-swooshing, seagulls edging in with their eyes on my lunch. Picked up handfuls of wet sand- granules of shell and rock, all shades of beige and shell-blue, one mother of pearl sliver, two gems of green sea glass. Breathed salt-damp air.
Back at work, feeling tired but good. Ate crunchy salad.
Watched the clouds go candyfloss colours as the sun was eclipsed by a treeline. 

14/3/22 Monday
Care client ventured outside with us today. She had been unwell earlier so we stuck to a whirl around the block, which didn't stop me I purchasing two magnolia trees, an orange broom-bush, and a pink azalea. My co-worker loaded up with house stuff, so we had integral strength training on the return journey.
Sun bright, air warming up, flowers blooming, fresh air, exercise, open windows, cheerful vibes. 

15/3/22 Tuesday
Sun and breeze; watered the polytunnel, spiders running everywhere, muttering mutinously at the indignity. Seedlings were potted on, wibbly thin stems and leaves like googly eyes. There are daisies in the rough lawn, and hyacinths. Birds raise their volume- more to do! More to do! 

16/3/22 Wednesday
This morning, on my commute: feeling weighted by the effort of trying to write (and re-write) a novel, and learn about agroforestry to optimise our land plans, in my break and in-between times, progress is heavy and slow. Sea is astounding, opal-esque blue-green, the sky grey-white, peaked like gothic meringue. 
Mid-morning, after my break: writing bounced along, I’m fine! Look out of the window, two tulips flower, one yellow, one pale pink. Sky is a humid grey blur. There’s a sunny beach on YouTube, I never tire of the waves. 

17/3/22 Thursday, St Patrick’s Day (which I overlooked, and have prepared no steak and stout pie, or even lined up a whiskey)
Had our coffee in bed with lectures on windbreaks and hedging. Heads spilling out plans and what-if scenarios. Got to work - sky blending arctic to cobalt blues, clouds neon white fluff with shady underbellies - dragged out my crumpled map of Paddock Garden, scrawled notes. Amazing to think that these vague and smudgy lines of biro can translate into a sustainable food paradise. (A realistic version of paradise here, meaning ‘mostly looks beautiful, likely to host a bunch of problems.) Work involved a trip to Heligan (Lost Gardens Of) where the pineapple pits, melon house, and raised beds gave me Old Tech thrills; the Thunderbox (Italian Garden) was achingly human and sad (where the pencilled autographs of gardening staff, dated 1914, related to several war deaths- you work in rural bliss, you poop, you write on the wall, you go to war, you are mourned). 
I will never plant rhododendrons at Paddock Garden (not good for bees or eating) but the way they grow, languorous, acrobatically twisted, is delicious to view. Care client leans from her wheelchair, puts her hands out to touch leaves, so relaxed.
 
18/3/22 Friday
It’s Land Day! But our Land Army is thinned out as Middle Daughter has Covid, so she and the little ones stay home (they have a big garden, can still go outside and steep themselves in sunshine). Youngest Son, me, Mr, and Dog gather at Paddock Garden for a breakfast meeting: we have mouths full of ideal eating temperature pasties which hampers unnecessary discussion, all meetings should run like this.
Sun shines, light breeze whiffles over the grass, fruit tree whips sway, everything has the feeling of happy-sighing, of so-excited-to-get-growing. Mr goes to finish his last stretch of hedge laying for this season, while the lad and I grab spades for planting: narcissi, hyacinths, broom, azalea, climbing roses, magnolias, a whole row of rooted currant cuttings bookended with rhubarb. There’s a row of daffodils in bloom along the top of the grass mound now, and plenty at the foot of the iron fence, bright warm yellow, trumpeting the seasonal step forward. When we planted the bulbs (crocus have come and gone, tulips are beginning to open) we were impatient to see them in flower, now we want to see them next spring, proliferated, interplanted- rushing for the rewards but also caught in the flow, also here now pushing a spade edge through spongy turf, crafting the future. 
On the way home we stop to buy a sourdough baguette- I have to ask the lady stocking the shelf if she’ll put it in a bag for me as when I reach to the shelf I realise my hands are caked in dirt. Mr is amused- I have four pairs of gloves with me but have not taken the time to wear any.
This evening: showered, feasted, kicking back in the recliner armchair, snuggled in a pocket of absolute contentment.

Outline of large oak tree, against bright sun, at the low end of the scrubby woods


Comments

  1. We all NEED those oases of contentment. And how nice to read of someone else who cannot go past plants for sale. They are as addictive for me as books.

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  2. Totally impressed with all you're learning and doing. If I get my lawn raked, I feel like I've done enough for the summer.

    Hope your daughter and family are fine, and that the dog was able to provoke a good breakfast.

    Also, your post reminded me of this poem by Stonehouse, a Zen monk who lived in a mountain hut 700 years ago.

    Why do my Zen friends choose smoke and vines [incense and koan riddles]?
    This life of mine isn't so hard.
    Gardenias below the cliff perfrume the trees,
    Shoots in my garden form rows of green.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you :-) Learning curve is impressive but tiring, family are all in the clear and well, Dog is utterly spoiled. On the whole, this life of mine isn't so hard.

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