I left my job at the end of December 2019 to go travelling during 2020. Little did I know that it would possibly be the worst year to travel. In fact, no ‘possibly’ about it! However, the proverbial phrase that says ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ is proving its worth. I have discovered my own unexpected, but much welcomed lining which I am nurturing with a surprising amount of passion and care.
With the unpredictability of countless weeks of social distancing, isolation, lock-down (whatever you want to call it), our travel calendar has been left to collect virtual dust and oodles of time at home has suddenly became available. Soon after arriving back in the UK (Was it really only three weeks ago?) we pretty much settled in for the ride in the confines of our home space and it was our first weekly visit to the supermarket that got me thinking as I sauntered along the aisles looking at empty shelves. Shelves that represented unnecessary panic, lack of common sense, selfishness, disregard and ignorance.
After I suppressed my initial anger at the thought of the waste that these hoarders would be discarding in future weeks, I began to think more about survival, self-sufficiency and self-preservation. With that, I now seem to find myself surrounded by various plant projects with a lofty sense of embedding my membership as a devoted eco-warrior now doing that little bit more to save the planet from unnecessary destruction. In reality, when I float down from my fluffy cloud, I am just doing some simple gardening to grow my own foods.
As a novice gardener, I am constantly amazed at how simple it is to grow or make something from nothing and I cannot believe that I haven’t indulged in this – to any great length – before.
With a quiet sense of excitement, I begin each morning by taking a peek at the ever-increasing ‘garden’ on the windowsills. I am still at the stage of feeling a sense of awe when a new leaf or additional shoot has appeared. As I chop vegetables for the family dinner, I ponder on what I can do with peelings and unused leaves and I am regularly searching for the more places to dig and plant in the garden.
To those of you who are ardent, experienced gardeners, you may be laughing at my green-fingered innocence, but I am so content with peering at the carrot tops, studying the growth of the chilli shoots, chatting to the basil and marvelling at the proud avocado plant, that I don’t mind in the slightest. Or you may be standing there with a broad smile on your face pleased that another like-minded soul has finally seen the beauty and value of your long-standing way of life.
I am having so much fun being surrounded by my green-leaved friends and I love that reusing some of my usual compost waste as well as nurturing seeds and growing vegetables has become my silver lining during this time. My newly found eagerness may not last beyond this year but that doesn’t matter. Travelling still beckons and, as soon as the all clear is given, I shall be filling my backpack and leaving. For now, however, I am busily occupied and thrilled with learning how to grow something from nothing.