At some stage during the long, hard winter that has, thankfully, passed, a piece of news - delivered with barely disguised glee - stopped me in my tracks. Western medicine had, the newsreader declared, at last debunked homeopathy. What?, I thought. Huh? What's with the 'tude? Without a homeopathic tradition – until very recently the study of herbs was the sum of all we had available to us medicinally - Western Medicine as it is known and practised today would simply not exist.
All day it stayed top of mind. Sue and I discussed it at some length, and I spent the first few hours of werk throwing, from time to time, all sorts of herbal questions at google. Granted, Bach Flower remedies are pretty damned out there (and I say this as a person not at all afraid of esoterica) and yes, there are some nutty claims made, but how, I wondered, could anyone doubt the effectiveness of slowly steeped thyme tea for soothing - notice I don't use the word curing - a persistant cough? Olde doesn't necessarily equate to bad. A sadness about the 21st century human stayed there, stuck in my chest for some time.
I come from a family of dedicated, outer-suburban gardeners. There are many things I absorbed as a child simply by watching what my grandparents and parents did in their respective plots, how they developed ideas and fulfilled creative aspirations, overcame challenges and soothed nerves. The garden was a source of employment, both mental and physical, and above all a place of great joy. I've written before about a long-held desire to be a small scale herb farmer, and looking back at that post just now I'm happy to say I've come a long way toward that goal. The entire garden may be devoted to food, but the herbs are the most interesting plants growing there.
In turn my own garden has become a teacher, shown me things about plants, seasons and patience that I did not know I needed to learn. By establishing a rhythm to the ongoing tasks of weeding, sowing and pruning, and breathing deeply (and often) while diving deep into the natural world, I’ve come to know the self better. A surprising yet pleasing revelation. Therapist, meditation and workout all rolled into one very tangible activity, the garden is also, increasingly as I learn, my healer.
All of which is to say that I am writing a small book, quite a personal one, something I've kept quiet as quiet is, mostly these days, how I feel. Hopefully it will be useful - I feel sick about it being thought of as just pretty. It's not too far from completion - the pesky words part, anyway - and the photographs are slowly coming together. Can't thank my kinesiologist* enough for the swift kick needed to get it happening some months ago.
Going to share it over the coming months, parts of it, to flex my creative muscle. Thanks, as ever, for reading people.
P.S. We now have bees. Bees! Fascinating. I lay in the grass next to the hive for 20 minutes on the weekend, listening in to their collective hum. Beautiful creatures. Beautiful noise.
*Yep. Not at all afraid of a bit of weirdo esoterica, me.