We are now in a meteorological spring. As I sit in my conservatory it actually feels like the first flush of summer. The nephews are running round the garden screaming with delight and hosing each other with water guns whilst their mother looks on with a mix of trepidation and glee.
In the break I have taken from writing this blog I have done a lot of introspection and a lot of reading on various topics as a matter of continuing self-development. Somewhere in the mix there were a number of self-help books. (Generating a variety of results, only some successful…)
One of the concepts I particularly liked was the idea of each person being born with their own garden to tend. At birth we are given our own patch situated next to our relatives. Clearly at this time we are unable to care for ourselves, let alone a garden. Thus, decisions of what to plant and when to work on our patch are left to those around us. Our parents can go one of two ways: they can either plant a mix of seeds from their own garden, or they can start something totally new. Typically, we get a mix of parental values along with a small touch of new thinking.
As we grow, we find that we are given little tasks in our garden so that piece by piece, weed by weed, we begin to learn how to nurture the life garden we have been given. We begin to notice things for ourselves and we begin to understand whether we like our garden or we don’t.
Through our teenage years we are left more and more to care for our gardens alone. Occasionally a loving parent may step in and fix a patch of weeds for us, or offer well-meaning advice, but that’s pretty much it. It’s also at this crucial crossroads in our life that we may meet another teenage gardener, who is also just starting to tend his or her own garden and we embark on a mutually satisfying relationship in which we tend our gardens together. We may find that instead of taking cuttings from our parents’ garden that we take cuttings from a variety of other gardeners’ patches and start to experiment with how we want our garden.
However, not all of us have good gardens with which to begin adulthood. It may be that our parents simply didn’t care about gardening and doused our plot in weed killer shortly after our birth, so that they could concentrate on something else. Or perhaps our garden – and the gardens all around us – was subjected to a nasty wildfire early in life.
Either way, we have hit eighteen and ready or not, we are now obliged to look after our own gardens. If we have been left with nothing at all, we now have a mammoth job in constructing something new at this late stage. But, no matter what, we must and often do with great success.
All through life, we are faced with challenges and pitfalls as well as amazing triumphs that shape us every day, every step of the way.
Just remember, no matter what, that garden is yours. Care for it and nurture it and love it because that’s the only garden you will get.