January was a wet windy month full of annoyances and niggles, hospital visits, a minor car accident (occupant unhurt, car repairable) and it ended with one of our mature oaks falling.
I was determined not to see the stricken tree as a metaphor for the month; it fell over, but not quite all the way. Its roots are still in the ground – sort of – because it was growing in the Pembrokeshire hedge bank that surrounds the field and a good seven metres of that lifted up with it. It just needs back-filling underneath, my husband says, and it’ll be okay. Phew.
This 100-year-old (at least) oak, my favourite tree of all of the many we have on the farm as it happens, is lying there with its canopy touching the field. I can’t move it, I have no alternative but to get used to how it is now.
And that, I suppose is the metaphor I was trying to avoid, but still, here we are: You cannot control things that happen, but you can control they way you feel about them. I can’t stand the tree back up, but I can be fascinated by the gift of a tree canopy that I can just walk into (without risking my neck climbing it; it was a good climbing tree, but those days are over for both of us).
I desperately wanted (for my elder daughter more than me) this new year to be hospital-free, to be full of recovery and future plans, not the everything’s-on-hold-because-we’re-waiting-for-more-surgery vibe that pervaded 2018. But that is not to be and we are waiting to go into hospital again. Hopefully this will be the last time but, like the oak that we can’t stand back up, we’ve all had to accept this necessity.
Accepting change stoically, like the oak, is the best you can do. It is pointless battering your head against life’s brick wall challenges.
I didn’t make any resolutions this new year because those all seem to be about change – New Year, new you! No thanks! I deleted everything that arrived in January promising a new me! because I decided to stick with the old me. I’ve decided to embrace acceptance just as the oak is embracing its new position. Why dim my light by trying to conform to standards set by god-knows-who in the futile pursuit of achieving god-knows-what?
Meanwhile, I’ve just been to visit the oak and, as it reclines in its new lazy-looking 45 degree angle, I notice that its leaf buds are fattening with the promise of spring to come. It may be having to face enormous change to its circumstances, but, for now at least, life goes on.
Seven lovely things:
- Look at the beauty that is #grombre. Grey hair is stunning on everyone and nature provides it for free
- Read Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah. An enthralling book in which three very damaged humans form a deep bond in a forest under the stars in rural Illinois
- Listen to David Tennant does a Podcast with… So far he has interviewed a very sweary Olivia Coleman and a delightful Whoopi Goldberg. I hadn’t really ‘got’ podcasts before but I’m a convert. (Also on iTunes.)
- Buy seeds. This is the seed catalogue reading time of year. Among this year’s purchases are Czar and Gigantes runner beans from Real Seeds who grow open pollinated ‘real’ seeds here in Pembrokeshire
- Eat blood oranges, in season now, for a delicious hit of tangy Vitamin C
- Watch Ingrid Fetell Lee’s TED Talk Where Joy Hides and How to Find It. This talk (and the book) really brightened up some of the darker days last year
- And in relation to that, become a joyspotter – this morning it rained while I was walking the dogs, so I looked up and there was a rainbow.