February 23, 2018

A Song of the Rosemary

This evening, still dizzy with flu, I wept while I cut into my beloved rosemary bush, trying to tidy the wreck my landlady has made of it. Such a beautiful exuberant bush, the only thing here that truly thrives in the all-day sun; the only green thing I saw when I looked out my lounge window. Maybe one fifth of it remains now.

I have tried to write something cheerful, I have tried to write about books. Last time I posted from my heart about my personal experiences, it didn't go well. And I've heard all the arguments that we must focus on the positive and say only things we can all agree upon. But there's this stubborn voice inside which tells me that if we don't share our grief, we'll have no hope of healing this world.

I've said before that I believe our society is failing. I believe this because never before have we blithely wrecked nature to such a degree for the sake of meaningless greed. (I know land was shorn of its forests hundreds of years ago. The difference is twofold: we know better than our ancestors did, and we know where it's heading.) Also, so many more people than ever before are suffering loneliness and distress, yet communities carry on disbanding, institutionalising. Maybe not where you are, but where I am, and many other places too.

Sometimes I sit and dream of the day I can live in the countryside and look back on my time in this neighbourhood like a grey dream. But that troubles me too. The thought of running away and leaving all the tree-cutters and gas-burners to their fate - it feels like such an unwomanly thing to do. We are the hearthkeepers and growers, we women, aren't we? We are the makers of quilts that bring all the patches together. And I know that, once I've sat with my grief for a while, I will feel again the strength that lies within it. I will remember ways in which I can be a gardener in the rubble, a calm word in the clamour, a knock on an otherwise untouched door in the neighbourhood. There's a saying - be where your feet are.  Maybe I could also say - do where your feet are. I can not grow lush bushes of rosemary or roses here, but I can tell stories about the sea-drenched moon, and I can throw food to the wild swans, and memorialise on my weblog the lost trees and vanished river-dragon.

Grief matters. It's another face of love.

As I went to Facebook to post the link for this, I got into a brief conversation with a woman who is starting schools for highly sensitive children, including those with autism, ADHD, and so on. I felt such joy talking with her. There is a great deal of goodness in the world. So many people doing what they can, where they can. I am grateful to the universe for bringing me this woman just when I needed her.