“Always the bough is breaking …”

Grainy b&w shot of milkweed seed head. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Milkweed seed head. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

I’ve become a gardener. Not just in the literal sense of having a garden; but more in the way that my garden has become a filter through which I see the world.

I grow flowers for the bees, set beer traps for snails, chase wasps from the swan plants and am the Big T’s eager accomplice in Monarch butterfly husbandry.

When I grow hungry, the contents of the  vege patch are as important as the contents of my fridge.

And when the annoying TV weatherman casts impending rain as a villain swooping in to spoil the party, I want to shout “sod off! Think of the plants; think of the gardens.”

The thing about gardening is that you become part of a cycle; birth, life, death, decay, re-birth. Compost as metaphor!

I have become connected. Though my little patch of cultivated dirt, I feel a sense of belonging to the Earth that is not only new, but surprising in its intensity.

Grainy b&w shot of milkweed seed head. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Milkweed seed head. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

I found this poem yesterday and realised that where once, if asked about my attitude to life and death, I’d have quoted Dylan Thomas’s Do not go gentle into that good night. 

Now I think Willam Soutar‘s Song might be more apt.

Song

End is in beginning;
And in beginning end:
Death is not loss, nor life winning;
But each and to each is friend.

The hands which give are taking;
And the hands which take bestow:
Always the bough is breaking
Heavy with fruit or snow.

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23 thoughts on ““Always the bough is breaking …”

  1. The pictures are wonderful as is your writing about the magic of gardening! It is a deep
    connection we share with our Mother Earth that sometimes just needs a little reminding in form of a lovely fruit hanging from a branch or a flower slowly blossoming in. I´m glad that you´ve found this connection and feel how its bonds are growing tighter. That poem just says it all…

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  2. Su, I feel as though we are soul sisters. Your words resonate on many levels. That interior voice, which calls you to the garden and nature’s role in our lives, is part of a hopeful present and future world. Your captures are heartfelt interpretations of a particularly important flower pod. Conversion to monochrome gives the images even more power as well as tranquility (even though the monarchs world is not tranquil in our current global environmental crisis). Happy Photo Challenge.

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  3. Pingback: Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: Black and White (Photographic Puzzle*) | Lens and Pens by Sally

    • I didn’t really know his work at all, but have been browsing the Scottish Poetry Library website randomly reading — just for fun. I read a few of his others, but Song was the one I really liked.

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      • I missed your post about Perth, so have just read it now. I’ve never managed to spend as much time in Perth as I want to; it was always a stop on the way to somewhere else. My mum lived in Blacklunans for a while, and even then we never managed to spend any real time in Perth!

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  4. I love the poem as well as your own words and photographs. If only everyone felt that connected to nature, perhaps we would not be so worried about climate change and what we are doing to despoil our planet.

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  5. Lovely post. The pictures are gorgeous Su! There can be found a balm for the soul in gardening that is unlike any other source of comfort. It seems to go much deeper than other self-soothing quests. The only thing that compares for me, is sitting by the ocean – the cold ocean in winter, not the hot summer ocean with crowds.

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  6. A lovely poem and I agree with you about a garden. I have felt so more relaxed since I got my garden back (10 years of flat and town house living with only containers to fill the need). So tell me, do the beer traps work? And if they do what do you do with the snails you trap?

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    • I have to admit, I had limited success with the beer traps (plastic bottles cut and put into depressions in the ground). We got a few snails, and digging out the bottles was a bit yuk!

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