I’ve been single-focusing on a passion-project of late which hasn’t left much time for creative play.
I’ve been in the ‘dark forest’; lost in the details of my debut novel. That’s how my new fav creative guru Jessica Abel might describe it, anyway – ‘the dark forest’ – (I’ve spent the last few days ingesting her podcast).
But all the while a little miracle has been unfolding right outside my window.
His name is Bob. Don’t ask me why. It just is.
I’m a personifier. I’m a bit crazy (a lot crazy). It brings me comfort to name things (and to know/admit I’m crazy).
Last Christmas was Bob’s second year with us, and until then he flourished, but a few months back I noticed he was constrained by his pot. It was like I could hear his desperate, silent screams.
I decided to move him. It was a struggle. He scratched and clawed. There was blood.
I made a new bed for him; a bigger pot, half a whisky barrel in fact.
I tucked him into rich, earthy folds of fresh compost and lovingly fed and watered him. I felt like I’d rescued him from the brink. But instead he began a steep decline, shrinking into himself and turning brown.
I tried talking to him. Nothing.
I tried prodding at him. His needles began to shed even faster, the ground literally littered with his skeleton, the spindly broken bones of his body.
I felt bad. I left him alone. I kept watering him. Still nothing.
I realised the move had finished him off (similar to my transgression with the seedlings, but I can’t even think about that just now).
I realised it was time to get rid of Bob.
He was taking up valuable real estate in the whiskey barrel. I had other fish to fry. I would drop him into the depths of the garden recycling bin and we would talk of him no more. My tools were at the ready, gardening gauntlets primed for the fight.
I noticed signs of life. Little green shoots sprouting from the centre of his uppermost branches: Bob was alive.
I kept on watering him, caring for him, waiting to see what would happen, wondering if I was imagining this stunning reinvention.
Almost daily more green needles appeared: bushy and smooth and strong and healthy. Bob flourished. Bob is flourishing.
He’s reinvented himself from the inside out. He’s shed the ghosts of Christmas past, he’s shed the memory of his time trapped in the too-small pot. And now he’s king of the whisky barrel; king of the whole garden!
It feels like a message of hope to us all but to me especially.
Just keep on doing what you’re doing. Don’t give up. The seeds you’ve sown are growing, growing stronger and more visible. Your time is yet to come.
I’d like to thank Bob for this little lesson. He’s going to be this year’s Christmas miracle!