For the past few weeks, there has been a mini spring – a little regreening, and second blossoming at the start of Autumn. Every morning as I was getting dressed, I looked out of my window and saw little globes of colour in the early morning light. They are the return of Rose flowers to my herb garden. But I have not spent any serious time sitting – or working – in my garden since July now.
This thing called ‘work’ got in the way, and in particular, the kind of work that I am not used to. The kind that does not feed the soul. Oh yes, the drudgery of normal life has well and truly hit me. Since early July I have been working at a petrol station in addition to my more usual life of clinical work, medicine-making, herb growing, foraging, writing, and editing. I have not had time to go and spend time with – or even go and smell – the roses. The seasons have turned again and I somehow didn’t notice. My mind thinks it is still summer, but here we are in mid autumn. How did that happen? It happened while I wasn’t engaged with my surroundings in nature. It happened over the course of a hundred early mornings and nights where I didn’t see the green because I was indoors under neon lights, selling diesel. I am season-lagged, and I have lost my connection.
Yesterday, I had a day off. For most people an opportunity to rest, for me, in my current state, an opportunity to be rest-less. I had the opportunity to go and spend time, between rain showers, walking the woods I know so well. Amongst the moss and mushrooms there is magic to be found. Connection. Sustenance for the soul.
The first leaves are falling from the trees, and those that are still in leaf are well on the turn. There is nourishment in this wood. Emotional, physical, and medicinal. But beyond gathering medicines (I had forgotten my foraging basket) and testing out a new camera (more on this later), I had a rather different harvest to make. I walked through the woods looking at, and being in my surroundings. And taking a good hard look at myself and my life at the moment. I don’t like what I see. I see someone who has become sick. Not ill, but sick. Sick with the modern diseases of the rat race of normal employment and day to day drudgery. Someone who doesn’t go and smell the roses. Who doesn’t walk in the woods. Who is just content to get in from work and crash in front of the TV. How did this happen?
Today, I find myself losing my voice and coughing and spluttering all over the place. A pragmatic person would say I shouldn’t have gone out into the woods and caught something. But it was brewing for a few days before. Losing my voice and trying to get something off my chest – the metaphorical take on my physical symptoms – is very telling. I was supposed to be teaching tonight. I can’t. Instead, I find myself curled up by the Aga drinking endless cups of tea and feeling a bit sorry for myself and my lot. I really shouldn’t, but I can’t help it. How have I got myself in such an emotional, spiritual – not to mention career muddle? How do I fix this mess? Can anyone fix this mess?
Of course, but the fixing may be painful. Healing and growth always are. They stretch us – our psyche, mind, and body in ways that we might not find comfortable – or expect.
It is all perspective. That perspective will change with time. My time in this set up is running out – I am running out of strength for it. Soon, I will return to my more normal routine of my ‘herbal life’. A more engaged, gentle life. Until then, I just have to put up, and find connection where I can!
So, perspective. I have a nice way of probing new perspective and seeing the world slightly differently. Christmas has come early at the Herbary – and my very dear Uncle John has gifted me a new camera – now because now is when I need it for illustrating blogs – and more importantly two book projects. Sometimes seeing the world through a new lens changes your perspectives. Look closer and a new world looks back. So here is a test from that new camera – just a bug sitting on a Yarrow flower, smiling… 🙂