Wednesday, September 26, 2012

playing god...

As those of you who are friends with me on facebook will know I've been spending a lot of time in the garden over the last month or so. Basically since we've had dry weather on my days at home and when it hasn't been too soggy underfoot (which given how much rain we've had this winter has been limiting at times - nextdoor's lawn has been masquerading as a paddling pool on a regular basis).

What I think of as 'last year', ie my first year here, I did some gardening on and off, but it really takes a year to get to know a garden and what is where. But I'd gradually been working away at various bits clearing the vegetable garden of the encroaching flowers (alstromeria and agapanthas), trying to keep the bark paths weed free and waging war on the creeping buttercup and convolulous that seem determind to strangle everything else in the garden.

Once the worst of winter was past though I set out to be more proactive, especially getting the vegetable garden more productive. What I soon realised was that I was reaping the benefits of my labours over the previous year as jobs that had taken all day to do before were now taking an hour or so. This has meant that on top of finishing off a couple of jobs I'd started ages ago to edge some flower beds to keep the soil (and weeds!) from taking over the path, the back garden is actually starting to look pretty respectable. It looks even better now Dan has restored the garden furniture to pristine condition from their decidedly tatty state.

A crack has appeared in the chimney stack which is going to get filled soon so we decided to shift the pot plants from around the base at the side of the drive to give better access. Of course once they were shifted it made sense to get in there and give that area a really good (and rather overdue) clear out of weeds, a build up of roots, soil and a collection of pebbles and shells mostly at least half buried. As often happens, one thing led to another and having got that bit tidy it showed how bad the rest of the strip down the side of the house was, so today I tackled another section of it. The job is by no means completed but it will have to wait until after I've been away next week to be finished off, meanwhile it does look a bit better!

I've reflected many times whilst gardening that it feels like 'playing god'; deciding what shall live and what shall die/be relocated/composted and turned into something far more useful (to me); destroying the homes of insects and lobbing the snails on to the drive or lawn for the thrushes to find; pruning things back (WGYF planners, pruning always makes me think of you!) and generally reshaping the world. I'm not sure quite what image of 'god' I have when I think of it as playing god - perhaps more of a Discworld one (Thunder rolls... a six) than anything more theologically profound, it does all seem rather Old Testament which is an image of god I'm not especially sure about.

Yet whilst I can't go along with creationist theories I can quite happily accept there being 'something' out there that is behind/underneath/inside of everything. For years as a teenager I fell back on the Star Wars 'Force' as a way to explain the concept of the Inner Light or that of god in everyone/everything to my school/uni friends who were trying to understand what this Quakerism stuff was that I'd got involved with. It still comes in pretty handy occassionally as an explanation I must admit!

Given how much my back is telling me about it I obviously wasn't using 'the force' with any amount of Jedi competence but there was a fair amount of brute force involved with shifting some of the more stubborn roots and creepers today. All I can say is thank goodness I didn't have to do six days of this before I got a rest...

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