23/4/20 I thought I had forgotten to write my final winter treasure in the turmoil that was the month of March. I had to look back through the list of blogs on my website to check. It was a relief to find I hadn’t forgotten to do it; but slightly worrying that all recollection of it had since deserted me.
This month I did forget, until a few days ago when I realised we were approaching the last week of April. I’m not entirely sure how we got here.
Having made a huge effort over the last few weeks to achieve something I never would have had the confidence to attempt even a few years ago, I have been feeling exhausted. Apart from the first day, this has not been the kind of exhaustion where I can’t drag myself off the sofa because my limbs feel like lead, but more a mental and emotional sort where I feel I have used up a year’s worth of ‘sticking my neck out’, as a friend put it, and now my mind is intent on shutting itself down. Doing anything other than being entirely passive is too much effort.
I fought it after the weekend, embarking on some of the more urgent jobs around the house and garden that I had neglected, glad to be released from the chains of technology that remains largely a frustrating mystery to me; but by the evening I realised that despite the freedom I felt in this change of activity, it wasn’t enough. I would have to abandon any ambitions to be ‘useful’ for at least another day or two.
At some point during my first designated lazy day on Tuesday, staring at the spring garden, listening to the wind and the birds, laughing at the chickens and reading a book while scratching Ilo the goat (who would nudge me every time I stopped), I realised that what I also needed was a solitary walk for the purposes of daydreaming. This is something I normally do nearly every day, but since my friend Joost has been staying with me for the past month, we mostly go together. I enjoy walking with company, but it is a completely different experience.
While I was out, I thought about the fact that I hadn’t written for well over a week – the result of a decision not to, for once, rather than a simple failure to make the time or space. My mind turned to the question of when I would be ready to look at a screen again, whether writing would help me to feel better if I could persuade myself to it, and what I would most like to write about.
I hadn’t come to any conclusions by the time I paused at a neighbour’s house, down the hill on the far side of the meadow, to admire the spring flower lawn beneath two flowering cherry trees to the left of the driveway gate. There were purple and white fritillaries, cowslips, primroses, forget-me-nots and bluebells. Every time I pass, the grass is a little higher and a little greener. The flowers are still going strong, two weeks or more after I first noticed them when I walked up the driveway to deliver a letter, perhaps because of their shady location in a sheltered spot in the valley. Leaning over the gate, I stood gazing at what seemed to me a miracle, vaguely wondering if I might be hallucinating. Otherwise, my mind was unusually still.
‘To see the World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower’ […]
This was paradise. The world was in a strange, worrying state, and I was feeling drained, lacking in desire to do anything. But I only had to look at this spring lawn to forget all of that. It told me that here was everything I could ever need; right here, right now.