I don't know why I keep forgetting to take my camera down to the garden. But I do. It looks quite different to when I last photographed it, so I'll try and remember to take it down tomorrow morning - in the new year. 2012.
I started at the Charnwood Community Garden in April 2004. At some stage, we kept chickens and I needed to develop a really complex 8-year bed rotation plan to accommodate the usual 4-year rotation plus moving the chook house. Anyway, I typed in dates into my excel spreadsheet that had unfathomable numbers - 2012. I don't seem to quite get the passage of time. In 2004, I had a 2-year-old and a child in the second year of school. I had just returned back to my part-time job after 14 months maternity leave. I cried all the way down Southern Cross Drive, wiped my tears, walked in through the front door and began for the second time, that awkward balancing act that is the privilege of working mothers. A few months after returning to work, I answered an advert on the social club database for plots at a local community garden. A small act of escape. Now, in December 2011, I sit listening to Jazz renditions of Christmas Carols, while my 14-year-old first born writes out his novel by hand. We have no conversation because he's busy imagining and writing and I'm busy shelling, listening and reflecting on a year past and a new year to begin.
Hopes and dreams. Responsibilities and escapes. Small acts of courage. Small acts of rebellion. The unknown. A year just gone, grieving for lives that are over, for my father, for my mentor, Geraldine. Trying to accept myself. Doing and being for my children, for my partner. Sometimes well, sometimes not well enough. Far enough through this life to get a sense of time but still, time doesn't make much sense. I heard Professor Stanley, a renowned medical scientist whose field is brain development, particularly in early childhood, say that you could think of a person as a boat, and over the course of a lifetime the boat is rebuilt many times, but that person always remains recognisable as a distinct boat. Our brain cells, our skin cells, our hair and nails, our thoughts, feelings, memories live and die year-by-year but somehow we remain constant. And yet, I often think the boat could look quite different by the end of its life. Maybe it started as a light water craft and ended as a tug boat. Maybe it started as river barge and ended as tall ship. Hopes and dreams.
A New Year Tomorrow. 2012.
Stats : 445g of shelled peas. Sugar Snaps and some rather fat snow peas left unpodded. I love sugar snaps. I ate quite a few while shelling - just to test that they were actually sugar snaps and so the pods could be left on. Yup. That one's definitely a sugar snap, so I don't need to shell it. Yup - so's that one. Yup - n'other one. You can tell from the outside because the pod is sort of waxy and fleshy looking. But just to be sure, better pop it into your mouth. It would be dull to throw a normal pea pod into a stir fry. No one would thank me for that. Better test this one too. Yup. The whole pod is crunchy and sweet and juicy. Sugar Snap.
I am such an unruly planter and picker - all the different peas all jumbled up together.
But this is why I garden - fresh peas. You have to grow them. Woolies doesn't sell pods of peas in big metal bowls. And it was time to sit quietly and reflect. I needed a bowl of peas to pod. Perfect end of the year activity, to sit quietly with my hopes and dreams alongside my son with his hopes and dreams. Peace be with you all.