There are certain things you just can’t help starting to like when you’re older which simply confirms the awful truth that you are, in fact, getting older.
I occasionally catch myself scanning mailers from Saga that I willfully ignored when they magically started appearing as soon as I turned 55.
I have also noticed that I’ve started mentioning to people that I’ll be 60 this year on more than a few occasions. I leave a little gap after I’ve said it to give them the chance to shake their heads in disbelief before expressing their incredulity at the news. Sometimes they don’t say this at all, sometimes it takes slightly too long. I blame my grey beard for this.
Another thing I do now, and for the most part, enjoy is gardening. I noticed this trend towards delighting in a previously hated task with mowing the lawn a few years back.
I even miss being able to do it now that winter’s here. There’s no job that has such an impact on the appearance of the garden than mowing the lawn which makes the 30 minutes of minimal effort with the petrol mower well worth it
Like a virus this joy has now spread to other parts of gardening I used to hate even more such as the various largely destructive tasks of digging, weeding and trimming bushes and trees.
I have a fairly large garden that I’m determined I’m going to get looking good for the summer and now in the midst of bleak midwinter, it’s time to do it. Whenever the sun comes out and the ground’s not frozen I’m out there. With all the rain we’ve had the soil is soft and easy to dig and weed.
Unless the weather’s really nice I limit my sessions to around an hour of fairly intense, varied activity. When I get tired of digging, usually after about 15 minutes, I’ll get down and dirty in the soil and pull up the small weeds by hand, squeezing the dirt to just the right size and consistency. When I’ve had enough of that there’s edging to be done, chopping, tidying everything into in the wheelie bin plus a wide variety of other tasks before getting back to the digging.
At this time of year very little is growing and you can literally see the wood for the trees and you feel like you’re winning whereas in the summer the rate of growth can be overwhelming.
While I’m gardening it’s not long before the resident robins and blackbirds appear hopping around nearby no doubt waiting for the opportunity, when I move away, to grab a worm. This always raises my spirits.
I’m often overwhelmed by the fecundity of it all, everything from the worms, to the weeds, the extraordinary rate of growth of the dastardly thorny brambles and the variation in the colours and growth rates of the flowers and bushes. It’s a pleasure to see the daffodil shoots poking through the sodden soil heralding that spring isn’t that far away.
To me it truly feels miraculous and though I have no formal religious beliefs I can’t help myself thinking that something more created is going on here than the rather random evolutionary alternative that science is convinced is right.
Being down in the dirt also makes me feel so relaxed, I can actually feel it reducing my blood pressure. Is it because I’m at one with the earth or is it something about the nature of the task that slows me down, here I do literally take the time to smell the roses.