I was outside from breakfast till sundown thanks to a jewel of an autumn day. Not to mention a dashing set of thermals!
The garden needed a tidy. Well – that’s not strictly true. Tidy is not something I do much, either in the house or out.
In the house I don’t do tidy because we need things around to inspire and stimulate. I found this out when home educating, when the children were far more engaged and busy when there was an array of projects, constructions, toys, creations and craft stuff, left about to stimulate them into action. Very useful when the tendency is for them to lay glossy eyed in front of a screen and be entertained. That’s useful too, at times, but they need to be building alternative skills too and nothing like a bit of inventing or creating to get their brains going and practical skills improving.
Little hands just can’t resist when there’s bricks asking to be built, sticky bits asking to be stuck and something to be experimented with. A tidy house with young children in it is not good.
Mine doesn’t have young children in it any more so I leave stuff around to stimulate myself – good excuse that – have you tried it?
And a tidy garden is not much good either. Not only for the children – they love den making with all sorts of junk you’d rather wasn’t out there, and mine was obsessed with digging child sized holes, so the garden never looked that great.
But now I still don’t tidy because under those piles of shabby leaves and rotting logs there is shelter for all the creatures who need it to survive the winter weather, who need rottings to eat and things to hide under. So I leave the garden untidy with autumn fallings to protect and shelter any wildlife that wants to over winter with us.
But, rather than tidy, I had to do some cutting back. This is so we don’t get drenched with overhanging shrubs as we go out the gate, or have our eyes gouged by lashing rose stems that have quadrupled in length over summer, which I can’t see as I go out to the compost heap in the dark and forget to duck.
So this has been my delight today; to be out there. Hard work it may have been – there was an awful lot of it when I looked – but happy-making being outside with nature. And now I can walk about unlashed and keep upright too, as I removed a few of the slippery leaves that slide my feet from under me when I’m least expecting it.
Then, when my arms got too tired to do any more, I shuffled off out the garden at sundown towards the marshland where I get the final sun-shafts right down to the last remaining minute, as there’s nothing manmade out there to obstruct its descent to horizon. The wild geese keep me company and finally an owl as I turn homeward in the dark.
And joy; I pass down paths without any scarring to the face and come inside to see what the untidy house has to offer for the evening!