Clearing the bottom garden. photo by Adelaide Shalhope
This notion made it's way into my mind several weeks ago as I was clearing away years and years worth of undergrowth and overgrowth in the large bottom garden of the home where I now live with my husband. It's a labour of love as it's his family home and on a beautiful site just along the river Endrick, in Scotland. It has been, and continues to be, however, lots of hard work.
It's work, though, that I so enjoy. I get to put on my grubbiest gardening clothes, spend time in the fresh air, and use serious tools. Secateurs! Bushman's saw! Pick axe! Never in my life would I have imagined my joy at sawing off a tree limb or cutting and pulling out so much overgrown hedge that my hands and arms ached for days.
How lovely it is after all the toil to stand under an old Hawthorn previously covered with tangled overgrown privet, and to feel the Apple tree breathe. How satisfying to have opened up the view to the other side of the river not seen in years.
We need these clearings. We need them not just for our gardens but for our places and spaces, our emotions -- our minds, for they open us up and make us available.
Sometimes the task is daunting. We've let years of things accumulate be they weeds in the garden, personal possessions, thought patterns, habits. The work can be difficult for us but that, too, is part of the process.
We put on our work clothes, gather the necessary tools, and begin to clear. It's a labour of love.