Bear with me, I have allotment ouchies.
I’m sat here, thinking about each and every muscle twang. When I walk, I am slow; even my baby toes throb in protest.
Yesterday and today, I have spent time on the allotment. All within the Social Distancing guidelines, I assure you.
Time that has been long over due. The Lockdown, has brought with it a new lens through which the world can be seen. Life has definitely changed.
Over the last seven weeks. I have spent most of my days at my desk. I have taught from my desk. I counsel from desk too. I have found it challenging to go out, beyond to the supermarket, to get fresh air, to get exercise. To ground myself, I guess. Brief windows in teaching and counselling have meant popping out into the garden, sniffing the camellias whilst nursing a cuppa before going back to work.
Something changed this week. I had enough, and made a change. I made the decision to step away from my desk, to be there only for teaching and counselling and go to the allotment.
(I’ve also had a laptop crisis; there had to be a very panicked repair. I hadn’t back it up, so this bit is genuinely Mea Culpa. Years of allotment images have been wiped as it went for repair. I’m okay with it; saddened and angry, but I look forward to taking new photos, making new allotment memories.)
(I’m not sat at my desk, writing this.)
For the last two months, I have been turning things over in my head. Why haven’t I gone, other than being busy?
This is where the counselling training starts to illuminate things.
I love my allotment, it’s been epic. It has been productive, there has been plot produce, and untold joy at so much. So when life got busy. and my time on the plot become less, there was a disconnect. I’ve been saying for a long time, that I would go back.
Alas, it was all very overwhelming. There have been many attempts weed, cover, potter. Nothing felt right. Nothing, felt connected or grounding. It was all very overwhelming; it still is, sat here writing.
And yet today, I have allotment ouchies.
I have spent today, yesterday, digging over raised beds. Raised beds, I have a few. Nine. Nine raised beds have had weed coverage pulled away, put into another bed to form a lasagne bed. There are two beds, that need faffing around with. There has been an abundance of apple blossom on the plot. The Braeburn apple tree, has been propped up as it bends over backwards. There is a promise of a bumper harvest.
I wandered through my rose bushes, tying in, typing up as I anticipate bouquets. Bouquets that right now, sound and feel like a Hallelujah Chorus in the distance.
My spade was picked up; I hate digging. But damn, my spade is good. It cuts through heavy clay like a hot knife through butter. Nine beds were turned over, clods broken up. I was something of a woman possessed really. Today, I’ve certainly been in second gear, rather than fifth. I took my time today.
I now have bare earth to play with. I’ve yet to sow any seeds, or find plants. That is going to be on my mind, my agenda in the next week or so. Last year, I grew a small gang of chillies. I’ve yet to sow a single seed. I’d quite like to sow some tomatoes, but it might be a little late.
So how does the title of this post fit?
There’s been incongruence, fear and a shame at having let the plot slide.
And I didn’t want to feel that way any longer. The plot is in my hands, I have the power to change it.
All those conditions of worth; the feeling that my plot wasn’t good enough. The introjects, of what a good plot should be. The slightly askew locus of evaluation, that the plot wasn’t in my hands. There has been overwhelming fear to not share the plot, to take anyone there or to even speak about it to anyone.
Here’s to change and having autonomy to do what I can.
I’m lucky, that for the most part, I have supportive allotment neighbours. There is the odd comment, which can be barbed. At times, that has hurt, cheesed me off and compounded not being able to do anything. There has been sadness, wounding pain at pitiful looks and comments that could only be politely ignored for some time.
There was joyfulness in what I’ve been doing. All right, sweaty, dirty and dehydrating, but I felt good doing it. I had, have, a plan. I need to, want to plan things into those beds. I’ve rummaged in my loldean timber seedbox, to find some bits and pieces. A few dwarf beans have been direct sown, some spinach and chard broadcast sown. This is all very tentative, I have no idea if that will work. It’s been a very long time since I’ve done that.
It was possible, for me to reconnect with the allotment plot. I had my headphones on, my water bottle. To be honest, I put my head down, and did what I had to do. I don’t compare my plot to those of others; I never have. I like that it’s different, that it’s mine and I do what I can with it.
I also know what has been. How it took shape, all the hard work that has gone into it. All the goodness that has come from it.
I shall take the small victories, of having dug over raised beds.
Even if I am going to creak for days…..