Today marks day fifteen since I moved into my new home and three weeks since I last wrote to you. I don’t know if you’ve missed me but I have certainly missed you and I can’t tell you what a relief it is to finally be sitting down to write this. When I’m not writing and sharing it feels as though life has gone skew-whiff and I have a constant gnawing sensation in my chest. I suppose that’s how I know I belong to writing.
At the same time, it felt impossible to write to you these past weeks. Partly because it has been a whirlwind of activity but mostly because whilst my body had arrived in this new place, the rest of whatever makes up my sense of self definitely hadn’t. The result was an empty feeling, like my body was just a shell with no essence of ‘Leah’ left in it. Today is the first day I have felt myself coming back to myself.
There are already a thousand stories I want to share with you about the past two weeks but I will do my best to focus on just one.
But first I must tell you a little about the house I’m in, which isn’t the house I expected to be in. I was in the process of buying a little house with a little garden. Meanwhile, the woman who owned it was also selling another house, two doors down, to someone else. This other one had a much bigger garden and was an end of terrace. One day, the owner of the two houses called me and told me that the person who was buying the other one had pulled out and she offered the house to me because she knew that I really wanted a bigger garden.
So now I am in this other house and it’s impossible to say how fortunate I feel because this house is everything I wanted and some days it’s hard to believe that it’s really true.
The garden is big enough for everything I imagined – growing plenty of vegetables, a greenhouse, chickens perhaps, plenty of plants and flowers for the insects and a small pond as I have already made the acquaintance of four delightful toads!
Not only that, but the tenants who lived here before left behind three compost bins, blueberry bushes, blackcurrant and redcurrant bushes, strawberries, thyme, rosemary and an abundance of mint.
Now that I have this garden to take care of, I realise I don’t have much clue at all about what to do! So for now I am doing very little and just taking my time to watch. The garden, and this whole tiny hamlet, is alive with wildlife and every time I walk a path through it I feel like a terrible monstrosity as I must be crushing things with every step!
I have been getting very close to everything in the garden. Poking my face right up close to the flowers to watch the bees and other insects at work. What I have noticed is that when I get really close to something and watch very quietly, I almost always well up with tears.
I know this feeling, so I don’t find it strange. I realised a few years ago that when you get physically close to someone or something and if you are able to just be there and observe in stillness and silence, then you will fall in love. Not romantic love, but the love that is the stuff the universe is made up of.
When you are far away from insects, you might see them flitting about but they are just insects. But when you are very close up to a bee or a fly or a wasp, then you can’t help but fall in love. And when you fall in love in that way, you’re not falling in love with the bee or the fly or the wasp, but with the entire world. Because when you’re that close to something, you realise that thing is the entire world. In every teeny, tiny, little thing, you will find the entire world if you are still and quiet enough. And you will know that the whole world is also in you.
That’s enough to make anyone cry, isn’t it?
Love and courage,