from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Friday, 6 April 2012


Well, in the world of hot-cross-bun-making, my enthusiasm is not matched by my skill. Never mind – TM was polite; and I was hungry.

Better luck in the veg garden today, where I have now planted three blackcurrant bushes, four raspberry canes from one that had self-seeded in a dwarf iris pot from wild stock in the woods on the Bere peninsula where I used to live, several salad mustard plants and some watercress, a row of rocket, a row of spring onion, two rows of leeks and two rows of leeks and carrots sown together. (I discovered last year how successful this was: the allium family repel carrot-fly and we had an amazing crop of huge fat juicy carrots, and in effect we had a successional sowing of leek, as we transplanted these as we lifted the carrots, so they came on later than the leek maincrop, and we're still eating them.) Oh and some sunflowers.

TM meanwhile, as I messed around with the girls' 'work' ('hello clouds, hello sky'), had excavated the whole massive compost bin, turned the other one, dug over two big beds and planted all the rest of our potatoes.

I also managed to avoid pulling up several dozen stunning little blue-eyed miniature forget-me-nots, instead planting round them. What is it about tiny wild things? Is it the 'cute' factor? These are barely 2cms tall, the whole plant that is: little pieces of brilliant sky fallen onto the soil.

As someone famously said, a weed is merely a plant growing in the wrong place. However, there is a question here: by leaving them where they are I have noticeably reduced my planting area. So what does one tend: the things one really needs to grow, or the things that are pretty? What one gives attention and space to is what will thrive.

This gets me to thinking about the weed equivalent in a human life – not innocent little forget-me-nots, but invasive bramble, nettle, dock – how greed, ignorance, melodrama, addiction, unhappiness, dysfunction etc are so often so much more interesting, compelling, and vigorous than other more worthy things: 'vice' is more seductive and pervasive than 'virtue' (and makes a better story).

Eventually the weeds displace the food crops.

I notice how averse I am to weeding out the distractions from my life: hours lost each week to facebook, twitter, emails when I could be spending that time writing, or seeing friends and family. And how I feed the weeds in my life which have pride of place in my identity: the 'poor exhausted me' wasteland, the 'stressed me' thicket, the me-with-a-dramatic-or-turbulent-history dark forest, and so on.

But those little blue-eyed forget-me-nots – ah, my soul needs them...

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