Nearly June. Already! The wild patch is rowdy with weeds. Capped with gossipy blossoms, they are sprouting with abandon, boisterously green, drunk on photosynthesis. All is jaunty chaos. All is splendid. Except for the disconcerting gleam of their foliage, glazed with sap from the aphid-riddled tree above. A rash of greenfly appeared on my t-shirt when I pruned off a couple of branches, lest they spread to my beech hedge. Creepy how they materialised, like a sleight of hand.
Still. They’re an all-you-can-eat buffet for the birds.
On the patio, I have placed an angular rock behind my favourite, ailing weed, grown too tall and thin. Its stem is anaemic, its flower buds parched, wrinkled. Is this ridiculous, propping up a weed? Dad, for one, would look at me askance. As he did that time we were in a dinghy on a loch somewhere in Scotland and I saved a fly from drowning. My insect-rescuing reflex. Sopping wet, the fly was struggling to unpeel its wings. When you are that small, water must have the weight of treacle. I placed it on the rope in the bottom of the boat, watched it slowly dry out, groom its tiny face with its tiny front legs, become, at last, airborne. Little triumphs. I was cold in the dinghy, life jacket straps fretting at my chin, a constant reminder that the water that supported us could just as easily swallow us. Glug. Two bobbing, orange-capsuled pills.
My thoughts are directionless, nomadic. This is not unpleasant, this state of mild stupefaction with occasional eruptions of efficiency. Fatigue is a Trojan horse concealing unexpected gifts. A meandering curiosity – how much do my boobs actually weigh? It is, it turns out, possible to gauge this, by holding the slim digital kitchen scales under each in turn, leaning forward. The readout scuttles back and forth, frantic, bewildered, this bowl of flour will not stop wobbling! Settling somewhere around a thousand grams. Close enough. That’s two kilos to deduct from my weight-loss target, then.
Not so much a target as the vaguest of half-hearted commitments. I don’t especially care about my midriff’s refusal to sit quietly within my jeans.
Some things weigh heavy. Right now, they are sand-filled balloons, defying gravity, bobbing along behind me on their strings. I am tired in part because I keep stumbling over irritations, stubbed toe, sharp pain, face-splat in a greasy puddle of helplessness. Up I get.
The iron farting out limescale on a freshly-laundered shirt.
The hoover coughing up grit because its mesh lung is furred with fluff.
The off-putting brownish bloom around the waterline in the toilet bowl.
The bits shed by black socks that loiter on the beige carpets.
The squeal of peeling veneer on the cupboard door as it catches against the frame.
Oh, static things, things desired for your newness, your plushness, your pristineness. How you have let me down with your insistent peeling, fraying, staining…
The circle-march of domestic chores, marching, marching, marching.
What was that meme? I dusted once. It came back. Not falling for that again.
I don’t kid myself. I know I will keep on dusting. Detached from everything else, performed with full attention, dusting might become a meditation, of a sort. As long as the mind does not throw up a hall of mirrors around the task. Mirror after concave mirror, as far as the brain can see.
Which is quite far, really. Poor brain, rubber-banding between this day and that, the past, the future, the then, the when, the long ago, the far ahead. Snap, ping, snap, ping, snap, ping inside its bowl of bone.
And so we come back to it. Mindfulness. Eeeeiiiaauw. Why does that word make me squirm so?
Hello, lovely, lazy self, I say. Come and be idle. Proper, fulsome, silken idleness. Not the scratchy, fizzing, distracted idleness of browsing the Internet. The cloud-surfing kind. Welcome, most gentle of feral creatures.
Kenneth Grahame understood it. There should be a rite of passage into adulthood that requires us to re-read The Wind in the Willows. While reclined in a hammock beneath a canopy of blossom. Ideally.
Another clunky trait of the human mind is its need to anthropomorphise animals. I suppose it helps us relate to them. We should let wild things be wild. Become wilder ourselves, meet them untamed.
Domestication. Domesticity. They are not nice-sounding words. Not at all.
Oh the sheer joy of disorder in full bloom! Never has my garden looked quite so bustling, so alive. I would like to lie in the shin-high grass, converse with the yellow-headed townsfolk. Gaze up at the sky through a fringe of green, be like a mouse, or a beetle, the earth cool against my belly. Tinged with wild. Wild-ishhhhh…
Lately, before I yielded to the seductive caress of exhaustion, I have felt like a cat lashing out in a sack. Ugly metaphor. But! The cat is okay, it claws its way out of the sack, and the sack isn’t tied, and the cat crept in there then panicked, because when it turned round and round, trying to settle down to sleep, it realised the hessian material had collapsed all around it, and it couldn’t find the opening, and so, instead of making itself very small and quiet and soft of breath, it panicked and wailed, and scrabbled furiously inside the dry cloth mouth that had swallowed it whole.
If I were clever, I’d weave a moral into that story.
More thoughts, gone for a walk without me. Sauntering by, loose at the hips.
The life of a fly is worth saving. A weed deserves love. We will one day send humans to Mars. On certain clear nights, you can see Mars, but you can also obscure it with the tip of your finger. It is (almost) all about perspective. In the mornings, the long grass streaks my calves with dew. It feels lovely. Today, I feel happy. Tomorrow, I might not. If we were happy all the time, how would we ever empathise with people who are sad? There is a part of me that is always ridiculously happy. It wants to sit, legs out, surrounded by a Great Mess, like the orbit of space junk stilled. It loves everyone. Well. Not quite.
How long is too long to be still?
Does it matter, that I am having trouble ordering my thoughts? They are seeping out in random places, no discernible pattern. I have been too densely stuffed, for too long.
Am I coming apart at the seams? Ha. I never learned to sew neatly, no matter how hard I tried. I would grow impatient with the mutinously wandering thread.
I think we must guard against stitching ourselves too tightly back together.
What a beautiful messy day.
What a beautiful, messy day.