Nesting Amongst the Wildflowers
Now comes the month of proud sparrows singing a warding spell to protect their nests in eaves and blossoming trees. Now too the month of violets. I grow them in pots in my kitchen so I can put the flowers in salads, on puddings or cakes, and between the leaves of books. (Have you ever pressed flowers within library books? And left poems on tiny pieces of paper between their chapters? I think that is something the army of the kind might do. Small, gentle guerilla acts to make the world ever so slightly lovelier.)
Yesterday, I sat on my doorstep with a book and a cup of tea. I had to wear my sunhat, the sky was so bright. All around me bees and white butterflies enjoyed the flowers of the garden. (Not enough flowers - I need to add more, always more.) The pride of the garden is a lush rosemary bush, for which I've named this house Rosemary Cottage; it sustains many winged populations all through the year. I would love to have roses too, but my landlady doesn't like them. Imagine not liking roses.
It felt so peaceful to sit out there. It felt in some ways essential. There is healing in the warm, wing-stroked air. Just as there is in the rain. I believe we need both wild and shelter, and I fear our society has tipped the balance too far towards shelter, and there may be no righting it. Everywhere I look, tower blocks of apartments are rising. Will one day our experience of nature be no more than pictures on a screen in our living room?
When I see all the dystopian novels that depict people scrounging for an existence in nature bereft of human civilisation, I think they have it backwards. The likeliest dystopia is surely humans crammed inside air- and temperature-controlled buildings, safe from the nature they have ruined with their disdain - a dystopia many are already living.
So I grow little flowers, although it is poor compensation for the trees my neighbours keep felling, and I long for unkempt meadows, even as I clean and tidy my little cottage. Here at the turning point of the year, I am reminded deeply, by rain and by sunlit gardens, of the importance of balance.