Two old hags hang at Waterval, yours truly and my mothers baby sister who lives with us. That is what the family calls us. We prefer to be our true wild, happy selves and we like the hanging part. We live a very laid back and quiet life here on this lovely farm and have been dreaming and chatting and planning a tunnel garden ever since she moved in at end of last year.
Life takes you on unexpected journeys. First we had to re-arrange the house to make it comfortable for all, so we put previously loved items out for sale. Then my daughter decided to look for work in Mpumalanga. Three hours away. I started knitting a blanket for the cold climate she was planning to move to. My niece en route to teach in Irak came to stay. The house a busy place after years of being no more than a museum with no visitors, to a burgeoning, bustling place. My daughter did not find the job offer enticing enough and is staying. Hallelujah. She and her father are now running our braai and fireplace business which celebrated its 12th year in May. My niece is settled in Bazra, Irak and is teaching and practicing early childhood development which is her passion.
And so winter passed, and spring arrived full of promise.
We shopped on line for a suitable size tunnel. A few spats and discussions later, the unit was on its way. Seeds for Africa was our choice to get hold of heritage tomato and a glorious array of other seeds. I will share more about this in a later blog.
We planted the first store bought seedlings on 13 September 2022. This morning I tasted the first deep red strawberry and the tomatoes are in bloom. The beautiful purple and green of the beetroot shoots are dancing in the breeze. The brinjal plants are standing strong. The first cucumber, marrow and pepper seedlings showed their crowns. We anxiously await the leeks and asparagus.
It is 29 September 2022 and the heritage tomatoes are pushing through the potting soil! The gooseberry bushes and Swiss Chard have found footing in an outside patch. Hubbard Squash seeds have pushed through and are starting to do what healthy pumpkins do!
What joy to water the plants, and how we enjoy the ritual of opening the tunnel up at daybreak and closing it at sunset.
Already I understand and experience what Clarissa Pinkola-Estes recommends.
“Sometimes, in order to bring a woman closer to the Life/Death/Life nature, I ask her to keep a garden.
Let this be a psychic one or one with mud, dirt, green, and all the things that surround and help and assail.
Let it represent the wild psyche. The garden is a concrete connection to life and death. You could even say there is a religion of garden, for it teaches profound psychological and spiritual lessons.
Whatever can happen to a garden can happen to soul and psyche – too much water, too little water, bugs, heat, storm, flood, invasion, miracles, dying back, coming back, boon, healing. During the life of the garden, women keep a diary, recording the signs of life-giving and life-taking.
Each entry cooks up a psychic soup.
In the garden we practice letting thoughts, ideas, preferences, desires, even loves both live and die. We plant, we pull, we bury. We dry seed, sow it, support it.
The garden is a meditation practice, that of saying when it is time for something to die.
In the garden one can see the time coming for both fruition and for dying back.
In the garden one is moving with rather than against the inhalations and the exhalations of greater wild Nature.
Through this meditation, we acknowledge that the Life/Death/Life cycle is a natural one.
Both Wild Woman’s life-giving and death-giving natures are waiting to be befriended, forever loved.
In this process, we become like the cyclical wild.
We have the ability to infuse energy and strengthen life, and to stand out of the way of what dies.”
“Women Who Run With The Wolves.”
-Clarissa Pinkola-Estes, Ph.D.-