I have been fascinated with nature since I was a small child. I just didn’t get enough time to actually attend to it. I mean, it squeezed through my toes as I ran to the river, the cottage door slamming shut behind me, and it stained my fingers when I tried, in vain, to make dandelion necklaces. And I wept like I would never stop when the hugest tree and bestest friend succumbed to Dutch Elm disease. But I didn’t ATTEND to nature the way some kids seem privileged to do.
It shows. My garden is a disaster. Every year, I head to the garden centre and pick up the most beautiful perennials, planting them in one of the three crescent gardens, each, unfortunately, dug to a different depth, and always forgetting that they will grow. Which means they get bigger. The next year, I pull half of them out, not yet learned enough to be able to tell which unfolding leaves are plants I love and chose and which are those most in my neighbourhood call weeds. The ones that survive are crowded out by bushes I didn’t think would take up that much sun and weeds I passed over in my reckless springtime purge.
But the miracle of each plant that remains is just that: a miracle. Right up until the waning days of autumn when the leaves have long flown and the seed heads bow and dip with their summer-laden weight. The marvel of the biological systems that form each bud, the petals, the sequential adornment shifting with each season.
I am, in fact, quite glad to know only enough of nature to adore it. To simply revel in my ignorance, wafting in its scents, feeling its thorns draw blood, and listening to the rustle of the poplars that line the path – this is bliss to me. Gardened or not, it is a spectacle of wonder.