Six on Saturday – A Walk Around My garden and Back Fields 2nd November 2019

It’s a rather somber walk around my garden and back fields today. We are mourning the loss of a cousin, taken too soon. It’s shaken us all. Someone our age, who should have lived another 30 years at least. These things are not within our power to change. A feeling of sorrow overwhelms me as I walk under leaden skies, the weather and landscape echoing my sadness.

This is a favourite view from the top of the back fields immediately behind my garden. It’s a view I stand and gaze at every day. You can see for miles. The fields that looked so golden all summer, so productive with wheat and barley, lay fallow today, waiting for the next phase. Waiting, like me, to see ‘what next.’ I’m thinking about my life today, and my cousin’s. I feel as if today is some kind of turning point.

Walking usually clears my thoughts. I make a lot of plans while putting one foot in front of the other. Just along from my garden there’s a ridgeway path. I’m usually in a hurry, marching, heart beating fast. Much better than sweating away in a gym. Today, I’m on a go-slow. Thoughts lost in the mist in the distance.

It’s been so wet here of late. Fields flooded, pond overflowing. We’ve had double the normal amounts of rain. Five months worth in five weeks. My spring bulbs, ordered in excitement and anticipation in July, lay still in their boxes in the potting shed. Waiting. If the ground doesn’t dry up soon, I shall have to throw them all into plant pots.

And yet, there is a glimmer of hope. Nature always supplies something to hearten, even something small and relatively insignificant. I find rosehips in abundance. Glowing red and spangled with raindrops. Food for the birds. I care about the birds and their survival, and am glad to see the rosehips and hedges full of hawthorn berries.

There’s crab apples too. Food for birds and mammals. A tiny mouse scampers and hides under a tussock of grass. We move away to allow it to feast in peace. It’ll need to build up reserves to get through the winter. Just behind the hedge, we see a family of roe deer, three adults and two fawn, this year’s young. They are like shadows, so quiet and calm. They melt away into a tangle of trees, unconcerned by our intrusion. A highlight of summer, we came upon one of the babies, left in the long grass by Polly’s Wood. Such a beautiful, heart-sing sight. Taught to stay still as a statue, it didn’t flinch, and we moved quietly away, knowing the mother was watching nearby.

I find a birds nest in the hedge. A mossy thing of beauty. How do they manage to create such intricate structures, merely using beak and claw. There are many wonders.

The hedgerow provides another message of hope. Hazel catkins or lambs tails. A reminder that spring will surely come. As it always has. The seasons carry on regardless.

Maple leaves are turning golden. Providing ‘sunshine’ – whatever the weather.

Back through the garden gate, dogwood Midwinter Fire is glowing in its autumn glory. Soon the orange stems will be revealed, a glorious sight through until spring.

Here’s a view of the potting shed from across the pond. I find myself standing gazing out of the potting shed window, thinking, planning, mulling things over. Then I set to and fill my grandfather’s old Sankey terracotta plant pots with compost. Thinking of him, and all my much-loved and sadly missed relatives, I plant my bulbs for spring. Spring will return and life goes on. We have to look forward, while not forgetting the past. And gardening thoughts and tasks will help to ease the pain. As it always has.

51 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – A Walk Around My garden and Back Fields 2nd November 2019

  1. The melancholy mood of your achingly beautiful surroundings are a fitting backdrop for the rawness of your heartache. I’m so very sorry for your loss, and hope your garden and all the wonders in it will make your pain easier to bear and to adjust to. I know my garden does that for me. I don’t know what I’d do without it. Be well, and take care.

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  2. Just beautiful, the text, the photos, and the melancholy landscape. I also lost a cousin this year, only 47, by his own hand. Many wounds, human and otherwise, never heal.

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    • Thank you. Sincere condolences for your loss. I just walked and walked for miles, thinking. Then jotted it all down, hoping it might help someone else in a similar situation. As other readers have said, the regularity of the seasons calms and reassures us when we are in a turmoil. Nature is a kind of balm. Thanks again for getting in touch. x

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  3. Oh Karen, it’s so hard on the family when you lose someone suddenly and I’m sorry to hear so much sadness in your beautifully written post. I’m glad you can find solace in the garden and wider landscape and hope that continues over the coming weeks and months. x

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    • Thank you Tanya. I’m taking a few days off to just walk and walk. It’s amazing how much the countryside and garden can be such a comfort in times of sadness. Thank you again. Karen

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  4. Karen very sorry for your loss. My heart is with you and it suffers with you. I have accompanied you on your walk in the countryside as if I were by your side, listening very carefully to what you said. I understand how you feel when you lose a dear cousin who still has a lifetime ahead, as it happened to me with my brother. It’s true you think about your life and you just stop reflecting on it. And it seems that something is going to change: it changed me with my brother and with my dear father. I don’t know what, but you change, although you’re still the same in the background, mature. Your cure is what you love in the world. Karen, you love Nature, animals, your garden and gardening and that is what will relieve your pain and heal you. You already say it in your blog when you see the red rose hips, the crab apples and the little mouse eating them, the roe deer family, the bird’s nest in the hedge: “There are many wonders,” you say. “The hedge provides another message of hope,” you say, with Hazel or lamb tails that is the announcement of the passing of the seasons and that spring will finally come. In your shed with the beloved Sankey pots of your dear grandfather filling them with compost and planting spring bulbs, you remember with love and your lack all your loved ones who are no longer here, and you are filled with sadness. It’s normal, the Duel takes time, tell me. But try to remember all the good times, all the wonderful situations you went through with each of them. Those positive memories will help you when you are sad and miss them. They have helped me. And if you have to cry to let off steam, now is the time. Then don’t cry anymore. Remember the happy moments you had with your dear cousin and put them in your heart. There they will remain forever. Now go slowly forward my dear friend. If you need me, write to my email margaritaecologica@outlook.com for whatever you want. All my best wishes and my love are with you and with all your family. Take care. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita Xxx

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    • Thank you Margarita. Your wise words have been gathered to me and absorbed. I’m looking everywhere for messages of hope. There are plenty, you just have to look carefully and find them. There will be changes too. I’ve decided to take early retirement. I wonder what the future holds for me. I’ve realised time is such a precious commodity it must not be wasted, not one minute of it! It’s exciting and frightening in equal measure. Thank you for always being by my side. Honestly, we could be twins. Our lives are running in parallel and we are helping one another. Affectionate greetings to you and your family. Love from Mr B, Meg and Grace. xx

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      • Dear Karen, you don’t have to thank me for anything, I’m your friend and I’m here by your side for everything you need. My heart is with you. My words are the result of experience. It is true that we could be twins: we help each other. It is a great decision to take early retirement, you will have reflected it well: I support you 100%. You will have a lot of free time to devote to everything you like. The future should not be feared: you have to enjoy life as much as possible and the future is already written for each of us, do not fear it, enjoy time to the fullest. Time is exciting but not scary Karen, it is only time that passes and you take advantage of it as you want and the best way is to do things that you like and make you happy. Karen a lot of love, a lot of strength, a lot of encouragement, a lot of calm and a lot of health. All my support for all your family and for you. With love for Mr B., for you, Grace and Meg. Take care of you all very much. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita Xxx

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      • Thank you for all your very kind words of encouragement and care. I also return them to you, so that we can support one another through all the trials and tribulations of life. You are a much valued friend. Affectionate greetings, karen xx

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    • Thank you Noelle. I must have walked 10 miles a day! Today, I’m more settled and quietly pottering in my greenhouse and potting shed. I’ve found common newts under the plant pots. I’ve put them in a safe place under the potting shed table. A robin is a constant companion now; he was annoyed at first at having to share his space, but a reluctant truce has emerged and he’s just quietly twittering away in the background instead of making alarm calls all the time. Thanks again for reading and getting in touch.

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  5. How sad for you and your family Karen. My sympathy. Yes, the garden and countryside is a reminder that life goes on and helps to heal, but mourning needs time more than anything.
    I do hope you get some drier weather soon – it really has been wet in your part of the world. It has been mostly grey and foggy here recently but the occasional bursts of sunshine are uplifting!

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    • Thank you Cathy. I’ve walked and walked for miles, finding solace in familiar paths. I realised I’m following in the footsteps of others who over hundreds of years have walked the ancient footpaths here. There’s a kind of continuity in the countryside that reassures and heals. Today it’s sunny and there’s hope of better weather. Thanks again for reading and getting in touch. xx

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  6. I am so sorry to hear of the sudden death of your cousin. Your walk was beautifully written. I took every step with you, because we lost our 51-year-old nephew to cancer a couple of weeks ago. It’s good to remember the comfort and healing that nature brings.

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    • So sorry for your loss Anne. Life doesn’t seem at all fair sometimes, does it. Readers on here have managed to say what I was trying to convey with much more eloquence than me. “seasons turning with such trusted regularity give reassurance and hope.” I’m pottering about the garden today looking for flowers and leaves to cheer. I’m heartened to find so many in golden hues. Sending my condolences to you, and much love and many hugs your way. x

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  7. Sorry for your bad news, hope you’ve benefitted from your stroll. Having the garden to stay busy is always good therapy.
    I love that you’ve inherited your grandfather’s pots. A lovely bit of family continuity there. I’ve run out of pots for now as I’ve still got a few dahlias hanging on in there before I can pot up the last of my bulbs. A handful of tulips and iris to go. Bought a few more pots yesterday with the oddity that garden centres sell off pots in autumn as well as plants.

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    • Thank you. It’s odd they sell everything off at this time of the year. There’s many bargains to be had. I’m very delayed with the bulb planting, but I expect they will sort themselves out and just flower a bit later than usual. Thanks for reading. Have a good week.

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    • Thank you. I walked for miles and miles in the rain, raindrops and tears plopping down on my shoes. When there’s nothing more that can be done, a quiet walk is nearly always the answer. Now I’m trying to catch up with the garden and bulb planting. After an awful start to autumn, we will all need something cheerful to look forward to come spring. Thanks for reading. Have a good week. x

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    • Thank you. I walked and walked for miles, tears and raindrops plopping down on my shoes. Thank you for your kind comments. The photos are simple i phone pics. I take my phone out of my pocket snd share what I’m seeing. It seems so honest and true. There’s no standing for ages with a tripod getting the right angle, or editing in a studio. It’s just the garden and landscape, though my eyes. Thanks again for reading and getting in touch.

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    • Thank you. That’s true indeed. The funeral was sad, but a celebration as well. His children wrote poems which were read out. There were traditional hymns and modern music, laughter and tears. I’m quite exhausted with the grief, and shock, but like you say, nature is a great healer. Have a good week. x

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    • Thank you Mala for your kind words. That is very true. I’m throwing myself into sweeping out the potting shed and planting hundreds of bulbs. After such a sad start to autumn, we will all need something cheerful to look forward to in the spring. And then we will have a family party in the garden and remember ALL our lost loved ones. That’s what I’m plotting and planning. Something positive on a very sad day. Thanks again. Karen x

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  8. A reflective post of great beauty. What you say about the seasons turning with such trusted regularity is so reassuring. Especially when we need reassurance and hope. Kindest regards.

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    • Thank you Miriam. That’s very true. I just walked and walked for miles and miles and then jotted down my thoughts as they tumbled out. It seems other people feel the same way. Searching for hope and solace in nature does provide a kind of balm. Thanks again. Karen x

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    • Thank you. They are indeed. Glad I’m not alone in this. Life feels like such a sad journey sometimes, even surrounded by loving family and friends. A solitary walk in the rain can help to heal things that can’t be changed. Thanks again for getting in touch. Karen

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