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Of Light Nights, and Lighter Hearts




21.05.20 – Darrell Priestley

It’s 21st May, and light enough (just) to walk around the garden at 3.47am without falling over the watering can left on the lawn, provided it is not a perfect colour match for the fading grass. How do I know this? I wake up at funny times, and of late, the first thing I can think about is the veggies. But don’t feel sorry for me, the garden has been sustaining me, and that’s before it really swings around to food production. At this point, everything is still little, except the potato plants, runner beans and sweet corn, which are all romping away, but growing things is just so uplifting that sometimes I’m out pottering in the garden until you can no longer make out the seeds you are trying to sow.

Right now it’s like nature has just hit us. People everywhere are noticing things around them. Why are the birds singing so enthusiastically this spring, for instance? Do they know something? Maybe they have noticed the cleaner air, but more likely it is simply us noticing them more. And this is happening all around us. As we have detatched ourselves from our routines, from the treadmill of having to be a certain place at a certain time, we are many of us out doors more often, and cue the nature show! Not only birds, but bugs, spiders, leaves, flowers, exciting growth and skies so blue! By 4.45am dawn looks amazing, (er, no, I don’t know anyone called ‘Dawn’), and you look out the window and think, wow, here we go again, another brand new fabulous day.

Even the Americans are getting in on it. My great friend and US correspondent, Vicki in Connecticut whom I used to teach way back, wrote yesterday to say she and her husband had set out their garden with veggies, and other than that they were pretty much not going out, but they sound as excited as we are with their plan to put food on the table. Good luck to them, I think they will have success. And everybody is doing it! Folks are planting strawberries in hanging baskets and tubs, herbs out on the patio and the kitchen window ledge, tomato plants just outside the back door, peas and beans where they can find a few old garden canes and the odd bit of netting for support and protection. But watch out for those pigeons!

While we are feeling all environmentally aware, its easier than usual to think about what we have versus what we would like. At first, I think people were just hoping for normal back, whatever that is. But they are moving past that now, and questioning if something better might be achievable. I certainly hope so. Nature gives you hope. Before the pandemic, climate change and the environment were still abstract ideas for a lot of us. Sure, we knew there were worries ahead, but it wasn’t easy to envisage the dangers that scientists and others were warning about. Somehow, it’s becoming a whole lot easier now. Thinking about it might never be convenient, but the pandemic wasn’t convenient, and that didn’t do much to stop it changing our world.

If we could articulate our hopes for a post pandemic world in one phrase, what would that be? Surely, between us we could come up with many deep, profound, impactful thoughts, but for today I offer just this simple and sincere wish: ”Safe cycling to all!” Go ponder.