I’ve been trying (it’s almost impossible) to avoid the news reports today. The details that are slowly emerging of the suicide bombing in Manchester last night are incredibly moving – and each time I turn on the radio I hear of a parent talking about a near miss or a sense of shared horror that ones so young could be taken so senselessly.
It’s at times like this I’m glad that I don’t have children of my own. Events like this make you want to pull the world closer to you, protect it and never let go. If I did I don’t think I’d want to let them ever leave the house again.
However we can’t plan for anything like this. Life is chaos and we can’t control it. We have to accept that sometimes it’s just randomly and brutally cruel.
The only answer I can give to such an event is to keep trying to find beauty in life wherever it’s hiding and do the best I can to be kind to others. Maybe by doing this in some small way the callousness of a violent minority intent on polluting our society will somehow be offset.
It seems desperately inadequate to say something like that – but I refuse to feel anger and hate. It just pollutes everything and furthers the agenda of those that would narrow our world view. They hope that by fostering division and distrust that the only recourse we will be left with is to react violently and indiscriminately.
I prefer to live in hope.
Hours before all of this carnage unfolded I took some photos of the new swanlings in the park, posting one on Instagram, and keeping some back for my blog.
My friend (feeding the ducks with her daughter) had sent me a photo of them only the day before. When she did there were seven babies.
Specifically because of this today they make me happy.
For the last few days I’ve persisted in my efforts to batter the garden into submission and so far the whole space looks loads better.
I had planned yesterday to mow the lawn and start on the right hand bushes but as I did so and filled refuse sacks with grass it became quickly apparent that the lawn had become riddled with ivy and I was exposing a rather large problem – a large network of vines.
I’ve had issues with ivy on the back wall of my house for a while but never on the grass, and i discovered that it had made it all the way (both in the the grass, under the grass and through the earth) to the opposite fence.
By the time I’d finished yesterday I’d mowed only 3/4 of the area that was strimmed on Sunday and filled 12 garden refuse sacks with ivy (which was a swine to pull out without snapping the tendrils) and grass.
The upper half of the garden is way worse than the lower part and I’ve still got a lot to rake out. At this rate there won’t be much grass left, as it’s being mostly yanked out along with the 6-7ft tendrils snaking their way over to my other border.
By the time it came to go to the tip (it closes at 3.15pm and I’d also run out of bags) my back could take no more. When I finally conked out later in the day (after a five mile afternoon walk) I felt like I’d truly had the mother of all workouts. Everything ached.
Today all my aches felt worse and I really didn’t feel like getting out of bed at all when I woke up.
My arms honestly feel like I’ve been trying to bench press a truck – and the backs of my thighs are in knots. What I’m doing is clearly good for me – but that doesn’t make creaking around the house (or the garden) any more palatable.
It’s also begun to worry me today that I’m going to be disturbing some lovely bird life as I continue with my drastic pruning. There appear to be thrushes and robins going in and out of the foliage to the left of me all the time and one in particular has been flying back and forth with my newly created twigs and is clearly making a nest somewhere very nearby although I can’t see where.
Others (Robins mostly) are taking advantage of the dry earth I created with my raking and have been engaging in spirited dust baths, chirping and tweeting as they do so, whilst I’ve quietly watched them at a distance with my coffee.
One little guy in particular has been inquisitively following me about for two days now, hopping in close to have a look, cocking his head, grabbing a worm and then flying off into the nearly foliage.
However I’m committed to cutting it all back – but if I find anything obvious I’ll try to cut around it. I don’t want to ruin some little bird’s chance at a life.
I’m driving on regardless because it’s been looming over me both literally (it’s about 10ft high on the left hand side) and metaphorically for ages.
The garden started to get really out of control in line with my worsening health and the more that slipped the bigger the problem got. In my head (despite my progress) it remained huge – and had become something that I thought I couldn’t do on my own. The reality is however that things have changed and I’m now capable of sorting it out.
In much the same way as not wanting to be a marathon runner – but wanting to be able to eventually run – I’m doing the garden predominantly because I can.
It just so happens I’m also rather enjoying myself in the process.
Anyway Internet. I must get on.
Don’t give in to hate and just be kind to eachother.