Seeds of Hope
I was moved by a recent BBC interview with some citizens of Kyiv. The journalist was astounded as he witnessed people coming out to do their shopping in the market. He noticed that the longest queue was at the seed sellers stall. He asked some people in the line why they were buying seeds. A woman said ' war is war but the land must still be cultivated'. A man said ' everything you plant is life, it is hope'. Sergei believes he is queuing for hope for the future. He will plant and he will draw vegetables in the summer.
On a recent walk in the Kent countryside I saw once again the miracle of rebirth, of growth, of spring's renewal as I walked through ancient woodland bathed in a blanket of wild primroses. Although experiencing this every year, this spring time with thoughts of people who are witnessing the destruction of their land, it was particularly poignant.
I recall looking out of the window when I lived in an old teak wood house in a village near Chiang Mai. The tallest trees surrounded the house and branches were making their way through crevices and into the windows. How long before vegetation engulfs my brief visit on Earth? The power of Nature ever present.
My cousin lives in Raleigh, North Carolina & when I visit I never cease to be amazed at the aerial views as we come in to land. From above the city appears dwarfed by the extent of the surrounding ancient forest. And how delightful that the citizens of Raleigh build & live around these ancient trees, for the most part. Respect.
I recently read a wise and insightful book entitled 'Recovery, The Lost Art of Convalescence' by Dr Gavin Francis in which he advises to "give time, space and respect to convalescence" and to "charge your environment with as much as you are able of space, light, greenery and quiet".
Greenery, the healer and the restorer of hope and better things to come.
It is no surprise that gardening workshops can be effective in supporting people who are suffering with physical and/or mental health issues.
I was recently inspired by a conversation with a friend who sadly has to have Dialysis three times a week. We chat on the phone while she has her treatment & we talk of seeds we have planted and what is growing. We spoke of propagating an avocado plant from seed, so life-affirming. Her body is very sick and, beyond the regular Dialysis treatments, there is little she can do. Invoking Reinhold Niebuhr's well known serenity prayer gives comfort and reminds us what we can do:
grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Building small episodes of joyous moments such as watching seeds grow can bring a sense positivity and purpose. Other small ways of connecting with Nature I have found healing while I convalesce from Covid 19: 'grounding' which is simply taking your shoes and socks off to feel the earth between your toes, eating a meal outside, watching a sunset and planting seeds with bare hands.
Yes, the Kyiv citizens who stand in defiance through their act of buying and planting seed, they do so with all the force of Nature behind them.
Where there is growth, hope blooms.