I recently heard the poem by Seamus Heaney – Digging. I fell in love with it on so many levels.
Running through my veins is the blood of my Irish grandfather, who was a keen gardener. I am a writer and a digger.
In fact, only the other week, I was busy on my allotment digging a new site for my compost. There is something about digging which I find inherently satisfying. Last year I dug a hole for a pond, in which there is now a resident frog who pops up from time to time. And no, I haven’t tried to kiss him. I did find him the other week wandering across to the apple tree. I thought, Poor love, he’s lost. So I took him back to the pond. He subsequently spent the next ten minutes hopping and stopping all the way back to the apple tree. I am sure he was frowning. What did I learn from this encounter? Frogs know what they’re about. Leave them be.
Gardening like writing takes perseverence, commitment, vision and digging deeper than I ever think is possible but the rewards are truly great. When presented with a completed short story that says what I want it to, or by an inspired sentence that has taken me 12 hours to create, or by the well-balanced vision of vegetables, flowers and fruits which is the result of a season of labour, I know that I am truly alive and can make a difference.
Tending my plots, both literary and green, involves shaping, crafting, thinking, sitting back and viewing, then starting the whole process all over again.
If you don’t write or dig, you should try them. They’re fun.
And don’t get me started on my shed which celebrated its third anniversary this year, or the recent discovery that I love gnomes…