Saturday, October 6, 2012

Nothing To Report, Yum-Yum

 Sometimes, I hate to say it, it's hard to find anything much to say. Some chimney pots strain for recognition...
Is it anything to try to find something new to say, or to find a new way to say something old, or to say very little and rely on an image or two to rescue me.
Foiled in my attempt this morning to produce a would-be photo-shoot of imagined humanoid insect life, I was obliged to head off in to the front garden, where much serious work needed to be done...
He says. Well, yes, it was thus, but wasn't there a supposition a dream was being embodied? And so I got thinking about what it is that got me into gardening in the first place and what then it means to me when I could be doing other things Unquestionably, it's the quiet I find in gardening that draws me magnetically to it. It's a thoroughly absorbing type of work.
In it, this work, little talk, if any, is required - and that's how I sort of like it. There's too much noise in the world for me, too much wind carrying too many litigious voices, too much that cannot be pruned...
And so I've borrowed this illustration by Lionel Lindsay ( 1864 - 1961 ) from a bookplate produced by the National Library of Australia to say exactly what I think of words and their usefulness. See here, the cockatoo is chewing up a book, as I would only too happily do, in an act of dismemberment and then of spitting out, with significant disregard, to much of what purports to be communication in this world..
The garden has its sounds, but it doesn't talk. In gardening, I sift out all I don't want to know, whether it's harboured in me, or it's been buzzing around my ears.
 My disposition is such that I feel best and feel most free in a natural world. Working within it is not like work at all - nothing is a task, until my body is straining, replete. My heart is singing to be involved. It's rather nice to forget all I don't want to know...
I'm sure that genetics play a significant part in this. I belong to a branch of the family tree that feels perfectly comfortable pottering about among the greenery, ignoring time, or any insistence the greater world needs me. It does not. It manifests itself and multiplies itself without me.
And so, prevented from astonishing you with an original post, I found myself today having to fit in with the changeable weather, where fabulous scenery was only in my mind. When it rained I gave up entirely and came inside and listened to The Mikado, by the venerable Gilbert and Sullivan. Yum, yum.
Getting back to the point, gardening, to me, stops me from being insane. I can't believe most of what goes on around me. I smile and then I call Zara to come over quickly: there is too much out there darling we don't want to know.
In our little world, there are no gates and no intruders.I can take the burning and the freezing, but please don't tell me all I feel is only in my head. Feeling's good, and so are gardens.


  1. For me the garden is my comforter, my healer, my confessor. Walking through the gardens, kneeling to plant or weed, or standing to prune a sick branch is when I am closest to my creator. I have said it many times the garden is my Cathedral.

    1. Bonnie, in the garden I am closest to my Creator too. It is endless, the garden, just as life, the life that is continuous, is.
      We are so privileged, are we not, to have been created?

  2. Considering you felt had little to say, you made a beautiful post out of it! We are grounded by our gardens, whether gardening or browsing, just being there is healing and replenishing. Yesterday our 6 year old spent hours in her bit of garden, learning about dividing and replanting. So much to learn in a garden. So much to be thankful for.

    1. Carol, you have a big heart.
      They say that giving is more important than receiving. My hunch is, that's correct. In giving, in a garden, or anywhere else, you forget yourself, your own priorities. Yet you are part of something ongoing, something that has a future as well as a present.

  3. Dear Faisal,

    You said you didn't have anything to report but I think you did, and I enjoyed this post and the photographs too!
    I was interested in Bonnie's comment because I always look on a forest as my cathedral. A garden is more of a chapel - a place for quiet solitude, reflection - even when weeding! Yes I feel very close to my Creator when in the garden.

    I am not sure that I agree with you regarding the written word though. There is much beautiful, wonderful communication to be had through the written word and not just from times past either.

    I think that communication, like speech, and indeed art, has become somewhat tainted in the mouths, minds and hands of people whose thoughts are ugly and mean.

    The cockatoo is a good image for all this but I view it another way: the cockatoo is like much of our society: screeching and posturing, destroying much that is beautiful just as the bird destroys the book and spits it out. Just as they swoop down and bite the heads of our neighbours daffodils (if they can) in wanton destruction. Gentleness, humility and kindness are seemingly trodden down in the mire by those who screech and pose and destroy, but if you look about you, you will find that they are not dead, not gone completely: They exist and will indeed flourish when watered by love and humanity. At least that is what I think.


    There's a fascination frantic in a ruin that's romantic...

    1. Dear Kirk,
      this post really was slapped together, out of desperation, so thankyou for being so kind about it.
      Yes, I like that, that the garden is a chapel.
      And yes, I was probably too blunt. I hold both the spoken and the written word in high regard. Whether it's the age we live in or my own particular circumstances, or the legacy of my past, I need to escape words and conversations. I like the timelessness.
      And I hope you won't be offended, but I absolutely love cockatoos and the way they rip things up. It's not done hatefully, you see, but in play. I get them in my garden sometimes, and I feed them, and they're intelligent enough to know who I am, after some time. They are known to be among the most intelligent of animals, up there with dogs and whales, horses and cats.
      Indeed, the gentle will always be here in this world.
      As I hope the channel that keeps us talking and writing will be.

    2. Dear Faisal,
      And there is something evocatively Australian about hearing the sound of cockatoos drifting on the air when you are out in the country.
      My dear departed canine friend and brother, Hamish, would run around the garden, jumping in to the air, barking his head off, in an attempt to drive them away when they were sitting in trees but they paid not the slightest scrap of notice.

  4. I didn't realise there was once a Bridget, behind the D'Oyly Carte name.
    Steeping into the shade of our two ash trees, is most definitely stepping into a Cathedral, hushed calm, enfolded by branches laden with leaves, and birdsong echoing off the rafters.

    1. Diana,
      all I know, as I get older, is how little I know. And I know remarkably little about Gilbert and Sullivan, and wish I knew much more.
      I'm very glad you have your ash trees, somewhere, as we all need, to forget all that is outside. That, to me, is what cathedrals are, or churches, or any quiet, places where we can gently dislodge ourselves from the world outside.
      For me, I dislodge myself often in the midst of the world, though the garden I have here is where I come back to, to restore my spirits.
      Let me know what music you hear under your ash trees.

  5. Enjoy your peaceful moments when you find them, whether they appear in the garden or in the magic black grooves of a vinyl record. Interesting how you can find a quiet place in a few minutes of sounds of your own choosing. Music...almost as magical as the liquid state of time that you find only in gardens.

    1. "The liquid state of time" is true, in gardens and in music. A nice phrase. Thankyou for your comment.

  6. For someone who was in need of inspiration you found quite a lot to say, all of it inspiring.
    Gardening is therapy, I wholeheartedly agree with you. Mucking in, getting dirty, working until your back aches, now that's what I call a decent dose of medicine.

    1. Medicine and therapy, you're right there, Friko, that's what gardening is. Yes, even the hard, hard work is good. It's good to be worn out, sometimes, isn't it, good to give your all.
      I really did feel I was scratching for something to say, so thankyou kindly.

  7. Hi Faisal, as always in your blog, I find this post poetic, stimulating, original and rewarding. To me the theme is about the difficulty of communicating with others. It's wonderful communing with nature, but then comes the challenge and ambivalence of using words to share the experience.

  8. Although you feel you don't always have something to say, I appreciate the fact that you do : )
    I like quiet but I like talking too
    I like the tranquility of nature but also the business of a city...

    "everything in moderation"