Someone I care deeply about has been harmed. It has rocked my world, because the harm is deliberate. The cover-up has been calculating. There is no remorse.
So I woke up this morning feeling battered and bruised. I want to take away the pain, but I can’t. I want to confront the people who should have protected, but haven’t. There is no outlet; no course of action that will make this ok.
I also woke up to arctic conditions. It seems we are in for a battering of icy winds and sub-zero temperatures. So I put on my gloves and my warmest jacket, and did what I always do when I need to think. I went into the garden.
The garden will probably react to the hostile conditions by going to ground. It will do nothing for a week. It will just sit it out, weathering the storm. It won’t try to put on new growth; it won’t waste energy with opening buds, but will keep them shut tight.
We tend to see our state of mind reflected back at us in the garden. So this morning, I noted the vulnerability of these self-seeded Crocus tommasianus, braving it out next to the malevolent rose stems. Look at their innocent white necks, so close to the thorns.
The crocuses are shut tight against the frost now, but later, if the sun comes out, they will open wide their blooms, and show the glowing filament within. It is as if they are saying to the rose “I know you are armoured and brutal, and if you get a chance you will gouge me, but we are just going to sit here, doing our thing, enjoying the earth, opening to the sun, regardless. Because that is what we do.”
And then I saw these Scilla sibirica, nestled in the fur-coat of lychnis foliage. Scilla, or ‘Siberian squill’, are the daintiest little bulbs, half the height of my little finger. But what power they possess. As I walk up the path, they glow like disco lights, electric blue. I don’t think there is any blue flower, even in the height of summer, that can throw out such wattage. This morning they appear to be cradled and weeping, but I know that within a day or two they will take their own weight and stand tall. There are smaller buds by their side, ready to shine in support.
This lupin foliage is frosted, but the thaw is coming. The melted frost collects as water droplets in the centre of each leaf. This will trickle down to the base of the plant; perhaps to the roots.
The sun has a habit of highlighting what is most alive. Look at the new red shoots of Euphorbia amygdaloides ‘Pupurea’.
In a few weeks these will open the brightest lime-green you ever did see, all the more vibrant for their dark background.
And the verdant shoots of hemerocallis:
There is such energy in their upwards thrust. They might pause in this freeze, but the only way now is up. This is the life-force, the will to survive.
And then, the real take-home message. I have been admiring my fellow-bloggers’ wonderful photos of Iris reticulata, (netted iris) over the last two weeks. I saw no sign of mine. I didn’t plant these; they were a lucky inheritance. They were not mine to lose, but I missed them all the same.
I had given up hope, thinking that I must have done something wrong. Maybe I carelessly put a spade through them when planting out last autumn. But this morning, as if they sensed my need, here they are. They have survived. I should not have doubted myself, or them.
And what survivors they are. They have such perfect three-dimensional structure, probing upwards and outwards and downwards. They have an innate self-belief. They possess cold logic, and a core of fiery passion. They are spiky, and to-the-point. They have grace. They cannot control the climate or the conditions in which they grow. They just have the will to survive.
You can give them a helping hand. They like a well-drained soil and plenty of sun. And careful with spades.
Taking this iris as my guide, I will sit tight. I don’t have to get bogged down in the quagmire of someone else’s making. I have done everything I can. I can do no more. We may need to hunker down whilst the hostile conditions prevail. We may need to huddle together and lean in, and get support from one another. But there is hope. We can carry on.
The freeze will be followed by thaw. The frost will turn into water droplets, and these will trickle down to the roots. The bulbs will hide, and look like they are lost. We will feel that loss, dreadfully.
But then one day, when we are least expecting it, they might reveal themselves to us, and bring joy to our hearts once more.
This post is dedicated to all those who are suffering, who have been harmed by others, who have suffered the neglect of those who should have helped. Huddle in over the next few cold days and weeks. Feel the warmth from others. Get through and survive. You are more than what has been done to you.