Thursday, 20 January 2011

Every Plant has its Time.



The time for this plant is now.
It is Christmas Box, or Winter Box (Sarcocca humilis), and it grows in a quiet, sheltered corner of the garden where I generally forget all about it.
Then, one morning, this morning, I go out into tepid sunshine and the air is filled with a wonderfully spicy fragrance.

It doesn't look much, and its flowers are tiny and not very decorative, but its power is awesome.
Two small sprigs of it sit in the winter indoor jungle that is my kitchen table, and the house is filled with fragrance.
How can such insignificant flowers emit such strength?

In the depths of the winter garden it is possible to overlook the signs of hope and of new life. It is the slight warmth of the sun that triggers the scent, and I am reminded again of the miraculous adaptations in a small garden.
One corner catches the sun and holds the warmth. A few inches away, and the temperature falls and the wind blows across.
Even the smallest garden holds a myriad micro-climates, enabling plants to live at their own pace and to benefit from the good times.

Similarly, in the depths of a life it is possible, sometimes easy, to overlook the good things, the important things which have to power to enrich my days.

A little while ago (not so long before my 70th birthday) I acknowledged the fact that some doors were closing for me. I no longer think that I might be a ballerina or a concert pianist, but I still feel full of possibilities. I still think of some other people as being 'grown-up', whereas I might not be. Not yet.

So the good things, the sheltered corners, the rich soil of my life are my family, my home, my friends.
They are the morning sun in the garden, and a fat thrush eating sultanas on the bird table.
They are a good book and a wood fire, a happy telephone call and a hand reaching out to say 'hello'.
They are rooms full of scent from a drab little plant that I forget about until it comes back to life and brings me with it.

15 comments:

marigold jam said...

What a lovely post! I do so agree that it is the little things which so often get overlooked which are more and more important as we get older! I loved your comment about not being a ballerina now - I sometimes think of the things I will never now be able to do but as you have so rightly said life is still filled with possibilities and the fact that we are still here at all is miracle enough isn't it?! Thanks for your kind comment on my blog too.

Jane

Zhoen said...

It doesn't need showy flowers, just the aroma, and timing.

Relatively Retiring said...

Marigold Jam: thank you. Yes, there was so much I never noticed when I was younger. The growth of appreciation is one of the joys old age.

Zhoen: Sometimes I wish I'd been a botanist so that I could understand the mechanics of floral scents, and how something so small can have such power. but, like the ballerina thing, it's a bit late now!

Jane said...

Knowing your lovely garden, I can see how it might bloom unseen without its terrific scent. I'm still amazed at what has survived the snow here. Sorry I haven't seen you in a while it's been one darn thing after another, as the saying goes. Life is filled with possibilites, we just have to keep seeing them, don't we.

pohanginapete said...

Yay for not growing up! I feel the same (not always, but often enough to enjoy).

These apparently small and insigificant things have a significance far outweighing their physical size. They help make life a delight, and I find the more I notice them the more delightful life becomes.

leslee said...

Lovely post. Cherishing - noticing - the small things that enrich our lives. I saved a little strip from a fortune cookie that reads, "Everything has beauty, but not everyone notices it." Maybe not everything, but certainly so much of beauty is overlooked. Thanks for noticing and sharing.

Relatively Retiring said...

Jane: I hope your garden has fared better thsan mine. I've lost a fair amount. It will soon be warm enough to sit out in it, though (in thermals!, so come for a cuppa when you can.

P.Pete: Yay, PohanginaPeterPan!

Leslee: You (and P.Pete) have the best eyes for details.

J. said...

Amen and amen and amen
I feel exactly the same

den said...

I am going to pick a possibility and encourage it to too and flower.
Do you think anyone anywhere feels "grown up"?
I fear life would lack sparkle life one were always sensible.
Here's to a few sparkles.

Relatively Retiring said...

J: thank you. I've been following your 'river' with great interest.

Den: Sadly I know quite a lot of 'grown-ups' and most of them are very much younger than me. They are people who are absolutely sure that they are right about everything.
I'm so grateful to you for the thought of the TENS machine - sparkle on!

Isabelle said...

My garden looks like a heap of brown soggy leaves at the moment - but you have given me hope!

Molly said...

I think that as we grow older we realize more acutely how much we still don't know! If not growing up means we can still find wonder in the little things, like that unassuming little plant,then I say "Let's never grow up!" I always find such gentle wisdom when I visit here.

Relatively Retiring said...

Isabelle: don't forget that the soggy brown stuff makes great compost!

Molly: thank you for such a kind comment. I'm sure you have to know a lot to even begin to appreciate how much you DON'T know.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your post, especially the part about "growing up"; it made me smile and take a step back from all the "to do" lists and worries.

You also solved the mystery of identifying the new plant in the garden. I now have a fragrant posy of Christmas box, winter honeysuckle and vibernum farreri in the sitting room, and the scents fill the house! Thank you for an inspirational idea.

Jan

Relatively Retiring said...

Jan: good to hear from you, and very good to know that you're enjoying the wonderful smells of very early spring.