My pondering place is a swinging chair at the bottom of the garden. It sits beneath an overgrown willow and is surrounded by weeds. It is a place to escape to for quiet contemplation, a place to find peace and solitude away from the hive of messy activities in the house.
I do love the energy that a house full of children brings, evidence of their creativity and imagination fills our home. Their artwork is proudly displayed on every cupboard door, and first attempts at writing stories are scattered around the living room. My sink usually has a mermaid living in it, I’m left little soft toy presents on my pillow and picture books are piled throughout the house. Nowhere is left untouched by sticky little fingers. Even the top shelf of my freezer has been claimed by my littlest for her ‘speriments’. She has developed a fascination with things freezing and so I now have a shelf full of random pots of stuff to be ‘sperimented’ on. (I also have two snowballs but that’s thanks to Jamie Cosley’s book Zucchini!)
So now and then, I escape to the bottom of the garden for little moments of calm. I breathe in the fresh air and gently swing to the rhythm of the swaying willow. The sounds of distant windchimes accompany the birdsong, and as I listen deeper still, I hear the sounds of insects exploring my unruly garden, and the shush of the willow.
So many areas of my life need weeding, but this is one space where the flourishing weeds enhance rather than clutter. I do admire meticulous gardens and appreciate the work taken to maintain such perfection but I favour the wild and unruly approach. Perhaps just as well as my only gardening skill is to send my husband out to mow the lawn when we start losing children in the long grass. My garden provides beauty and colour despite my efforts so I’ve learned to just trust Mother Nature to tend to it.
I love my weeds. They thrive and survive the many little feet dancing across the lawn, racing to be first on the swing. They bloom in sun and shade, providing fragrant petals for homemade perfumes. They sit in makeshift vases on my kitchen windowsill, colourful reminders of posies picked lovingly by my girls.
Weeds are happy flowers. The humblest of flowers can bring such pleasure if you take time to really enjoy them. Sitting quietly on the lawn, patient little fingers turn dainty daisies into fairy crowns, carefully pinching the thin stem to thread the next daisy in the chain. I enjoy the golden dandelion flowers while my girls eagerly await them going to seed. Snowy dandelion heads cause giggles of delight as their fluffy seeds are blown, counting: one ‘o clock, two ‘o clock, three ‘o clock. Happy memories of sunny summers with my mum are now shared with my own children.
I sit so still and quiet the new blackbirds hop close, rooting under the celandines for a tasty meal. I watch the sparrows’ funny antics as they explore under the hedge, then hide chirping angrily as the crow drops in to steal their feast. My inability to garden has created a plentiful haven for wild birds.
So as I sit beneath the willow, swinging and pondering my hectic life, I admire the beauty of my wild, untamed garden. This is one area of my life I will not be weeding.