Again, I have skipped making a cake this week-end (bad, bad me). On a normal Easter week-end, I would be making cozonac, a traditional cake that takes hours to make. Given that this is only worth the time if there are many people eating it, or if you are happy for you and those in your care to eat plenty of it for days, I decided against it. Plus, there were going to be sweets at the family brunch, so why add to that?
Instead, I got to focus on other things. There were lots of firsts this week-end: my husband’s volleyball team became champions (woohoo!), this was Kid 2’s first (and soon to be forgotten) encounter with the Easter Bunny (aka me shopping for Easter presents with him, a tradition I started with his brother and that I am keeping, haha!), my first G3 concert, but more to the obscure point, my first gardening day of the year.
I have been waiting for this for a long time now. Like with many other things, I am not particularly skilled at gardening, but I am naturally not a disaster either. I somehow manage to be ever so slightly above average with many things, which means that I can pretty much do anything, just not very well, only acceptably. Not to despair, there are things I am actually good at. Gardening is one thing I have always wanted to be better at. I love the idea of having my own little corner of nature to take care of. I want it to be under my control, subject to my decisions, which I know sounds ominous. But my choices are not cutting down, levelling and paving. Nature under my control would be big, a little wild with some nicely curated spots, it would have water, it would definitely have fruit, it would have birds singing, it would have rocks to climb on. I would love for my back yard to be a forest on a mountain. With a waterfall, definitely with a waterfall. And it would be dark so I can see the stars at night.
Since none of my fantasy items is actually in our back garden, I have started to make some space to add at least some elements. So weeds have made space for a peach tree (one of Kid 1’s favourite fruits) that will hopefully grow and, most importantly, make peaches. For now, I can only see that it is preparing to make flowers, which, together with cherry and sour cherry blossoms, are among my favourites. An unbelievably stubborn climbing plant (they are my curse, they have been following me everywhere I have lived so far) has, for now, made space that needs to be filled up with strawberries (another one of Kid 1’s favourite fruits). I wonder if it will show up again before I manage to go to the garden centre for said strawberry plants…
Anyway… I have mentioned before how I feel about nature and how important I find it. I do feel that we should go out and look for it as much as we can. But I also feel it is important to bring it as close to us as possible, and this for two reasons. The first one is that it will help us reap the benefits of being in nature more often. You don’t have the time to run away for a few hours? Then at least step into your natural oasis for a few minutes. You don’t want your beautiful corner of nature to become a horror zone? Then work around it to maintain in and keep it healthy and happy. Moving in nature is one of the main reasons why I, and I think all of us, need a Holy Cake Day.
The second reason why it is important to bring nature close to us is for the general health of our ecosystem. No, me having a peach tree and some flowers in my garden will not reverse climate change. And neither would the maximum number of trees and plants I could ever accommodate in my garden. But just because I won’t have an effect on a global scale, is that really a reason to not do anything? This is why I hated rational choice theory in college, because of the rational voter. I find the rational voter to be stupid. So what if I won’t change the world with my voting (i.e. planting)? If we were all rational in this way, the world would collapse immediately, and quite frankly, we would deserve it. I believe that small actions matter, irrespective of the scale of their impact. We all need to believe that we can have a positive impact and that our back gardens and balconies are valuable and treat them as such. Not just as a useful space to barbecue and sit in the sun drinking beer, but as a useful space to embrace nature, learn about it, interact with it, and get inspired by it. Who knows what amazing things we will be capable of doing then?
P.S. I am struggling to find enough time for this, but I am now (very excited to be) reading The Nature Fix, a book that puts some science behind all my blabbing about nature. I have a feeling I will be talking about this a lot!