Friday, March 05, 2010

A Primary Focus

Work, recreation, stimulation and inspiration; I am truly blessed in having my primary focus for all these activities right on my doorstep.

I've just spent another couple of hours intermittent labour in the garden, this morning. There was a time when most of the pruning and trimming back  of plants and shrubs was a late autumn pre-occupation but, increasingly, since making the garden a much more wildlife friendly environment, many of these tasks have been transferred to this part of the year. The priority, now that the harshest weather has passed (hopefully), is to trim the hedges and shrubs before the nesting season gets into full swing. As I amble around, I can always spot another task to be performed and, it requires a conscious effort on my part to remember priorities.

Just a couple of years back many of these tasks would have remained unfulfilled, without the endeavours of my beloved, so it's with an immense sense of gratitude that I perform these chores, a sure sign that I am continuing, a few setbacks aside, in my remission from the most disabling aspects of my condition. Even 30% of my previous activity levels is a plateau I could have hardly dreamt of such a short while ago.

As I got down to pruning and lopping an overgrown hedge, a Robin determinedly accompanied me in my endeavours; whichever way I turned my avian friend was bobbing around. Needless to say, when I decided to reach for my camera the bird was nowhere to be seen; perhaps he's a little camera shy! Elsewhere in the garden, alongside an abundant squabble of starlings, blue tits, coal tits, blackbirds, house sparrows and dunnocks were taking advantage of the garden's various feeders.

I've got to be honest, I'd deluded myself into thinking (even in pre-illness days) that a wildlife area would require less maintenance than a more formal garden; it's a marvellous resource, even though my assumption was totally incorrect. When it comes to the more 'tame' borders of the garden, intrusive ground elder aside, the greatest scourge is the neighbourhood's 'domestic' cats; domestic they may be in terms of being someones household pets but they are a menace when it comes to scratching up bulbs and plants (but not in their own backyard). Electronic cat scarers prove ineffectual, pepper washes away far too quickly and, at times, I even begin to question the value of a few strategically placed thorn & briar branches. A spray of water is certainly effective, as is a loud "hiss" but, unfortunately 24 hour vigilance is impractical! Frustrations aside, I wouldn't swap the garden for anything; it proves a source of inspiration for both my painting and writing, as well as being a more general aid to relaxation.

As I sit and scribble down these notes, a red kite is circling low over the garden; I open the back door and, the variegated pattern of birdsong lifts my spirits. I rejoice and am glad in this day the Lord has made.

No comments: