A Gardener’s Diary – 1st Feb

It’s my own fault. Who in their right mind would try and rake up leaves as the wind blows?

The sun was shining this morning. The temperature is a balmy +11C and significantly higher than it has been of late. My enthusiasm to get out into the garden made me overlook some basic’s such as the strength of the wind.

It is a job on my ever increasing to-do list, and raking up predominantly oak leaves that have fallen each month through winter. Every time I do clear them, there are more that appear. Today however ended in much needed laughter as the warmer weather was an ideal opportunity to enable our son to sit out in his wheelchair on the decking while taking in the much needed sunshine. Still in our hats and coats mind you. The old saying of “Ne’er cast a clout till May is out,” rings true. Meaning, don’t take your warm clothes off until the May blossom is out, is very good advice. So all wrapped up, a mug of tea on the little bistro table and as I watch our son in case he has a seizure, I set about raking up leaves.

I should have known before I even started, but as the first sweep of leaves caught the wind, that was it. Like a million mini kites being flown by invisible garden fairy folk, the leaves just seemed to multiply and fly all over. A shriek goes out from our son and I immediately look over to him. Leaves dried in the sun and wind are swirling all over him. The shriek is of delight rather than anguish and a broad grin is on his face. I swept another pile. Up in the air they went and almost as if magnetic they fly past the weather vane and all around our son, falling silently on his coat, on his head and on his arms. Bursting with laughter he shouts out to me “again” I need no prompting. We are always looking out for those small signs that show happiness or an interest that he is unable to speak of and here was something so unexpected, but created so much delight. I obliged by raking another couple of piles into the air and watched as our son using the one hand that he can try’s to catch them as they pass by him or fall onto him.

It did nothing to tidy the garden, but as I garden to support our sons complex needs, sweeping and raking up these leaves can wait. We laughed today and that was more important. Even though I cursed the might oak trees for endlessly losing their leaves, seemingly all in our garden, I do have the passing thought that maybe, just maybe, they knew something that I did not until this moment, and that is that a smile can be had in the most unexpected of times and places and these trees with their hundreds of years of wisdom, gave me something very special, to create in this moment, something very special.

Mug of tea drunk, we spend a few more minutes outdoors. Our two robins are sitting on the fence just watching what we were doing with cocked heads. Blackbirds fly down into the disturbed leaves and flicking them all over with their beaks, they go hunting for any grubs that are beginning to stir in the warming weather.

Next time, I should have my camera with me. These are the moments we cherish.

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