Monday, January 21, 2008

Emma's Reflections on Path Digging Day Number 1!

I wanted to write a little about today, as way of reflection so here goes.

I really had a fantastic afternoon thanks to an email from a friend Miriam. Today I visited and helped to dig a pathway at the Eglantine Community Garden (or the “Anarchist Plot” Community Garden). It was my first visit, so I wasn’t even sure when I left my home in the West if I would find it. Directions from the blogsite did help.

SO I arrived with a spade my father had lent me, ‘workie’ gloves and boots and a supply of food in my rucksack. There I found my fellow digging mates enjoying a cup of real coffee. Good start I thought. A strange site, picture this, three souls sitting on plastic summer seats, spades and wheel barrows and lots of dirt and surrounded on all sides by back walls of imposing buildings. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but a fully fledged garden ornamental walled garden it was not. However, there was a definite sense that what I saw in front of me was the accumulated work of many people over time, four years as it turned out. The area behind Eglantine Avenue or behind Malone Avenue, depending on your method of approach, is a treasure of discovery.

Gerard, Miriam and Darren had already dug a substantial way on the proposed pathway through the plot. After coffee Miriam gave me a guided tour, pointing out willow, blackcurrant, a new apple tree, strawberries in raised beds….with each new discovery I was filled with joy and delight. When you first enter the garden it looks like a jumbled mess, but on closer examination it is incredible to note just what is living and thriving there.

Spade in hand, we progressed with the path, moving earth and leaving a tunnel to be filled in with hard core and stones in later weeks. Others joined the fun Budu, and lovely Doris.

I shared such a lovely moment with Budu who is from Nepal. He has been here for six months and has a sister here in Belfast and a brother in Nepal. I was using dad’s spade with glee and he was coming after and scooping up the dark brown dirt mixed with terracotta red bricks into the wheelbarrow. He began to hum, so I asked him to sing. He agreed and then paused, gently leaning on the shaft of the spade, then began singing in Nepali. What a lovely lilt. Obviously I no idea what the lyrics meant. But hey, to be sung to on a cold January day warmed my sense of delight in being alive and in the moment.

There were so many other highlights, but here are a few:

  • Darren finding a buried jumper: uncovered it looked like an A-level art project-definitely art darling!

  • Discovering that Gerard has an allotment near where I live, and that he is looking for help/or to allow me to use part of it!! Im SOO excited

  • Watching 4 year old little girl dressed in pink boots holding a small shovel reminding us that she loves ballet.

  • Realising that Doris and I had already made a connection via email- small world.

  • LUNCH- at 3pm. Eating and talking around a wooden table, sharing food and appreciating food, followed by a whisky coffee.

  • Mirko, Phillip and Valerie joining us- the German contingent which reminded me of time in Portugal on the land there- everywhere I go I meet fantastically skilled Germans

I have to say I would recommend that others come down, next week in fact. More digging and path preparation to be done. From 10-4pm.The welcome was super, meeting new people with similar interests in the outdoors, social and physical transformation, gardening, creating and cooking! Wow! The added benefit of the physical exercise is not to be underestimated. I felt so good afterwards that I am bursting to tell others.

1 comment:

gaffycowan said...

how good is gardening???