This week’s pictures are brought to you by the colours yellow and pinky-orange. That’s what’s going on in the front garden at the moment: so many plants blooming in radically different shapes and sizes but fundamentally all connected. I didn’t really have to do anything to make them grow and blossom, other than a bit of pruning (inexpert random chopping) and weeding (futile but surprisingly soothing exercise). And up they all popped in their sunny colours.I’ve learned a lot from the garden just lately. Plants are blooming this year that didn’t produce a single petal last year. Perhaps we’ve had the right conditions. Perhaps they only bloom every other year. Perhaps I wasn’t really looking last year. There was a lot going on.Last year there was no fruit on the plum trees. I wasn’t even sure they were the fruiting kind. This year one of the trees is invading the verandah and it’s laden with fruit. I’m already getting the jam jars ready.The garden’s bursting with so much life that it’s hard to take it all in. It keeps on growing and producing and following the story of the seasons while we forget to look. Instead, we follow the stories in our head. We follow our thoughts and sometimes we get stuck in them, tangled in imaginary roots and pricked by pretend thorns. We don’t always see what’s real.So I think what I’m saying, mostly to myself but to anyone else who gets stuck in stories, is look at the story outside. Look at the garden that we’re all in together. A friend sent me this poem today. Perhaps you know it. I didn’t. I wanted to share it because it expresses so beautifully that extraordinary, limitless, exhilarating fact of existence: connection. We’re all in this together. Go well, my friends.
Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.