Slightly Bemused writes:
They truly are a thorny problem. And one I let get away from me. The end of my back garden became shorter by about 10 feet while I was away as the brambles decided I was not living in the house and were making a mad run for occupancy. Maybe they were jealous of the new loo
But thanks to Woodies I have been able to hold the front, although I did nothing once fruit arrived. There are little birds living there, and the fruit was important. I saw the last of it a week ago. And a lovely man who comes in about 3-4 times a year and makes sure my garden does not completely take over my home was in.
He regained me about 4 feet of my garden. He will be back in spring, and we can decide how much more to recover, and how much to leave for the robins and the bluetits, and maybe even the goldtit if he is still about. The blackbirds were upset, but they live higher in the trees. I never figured out where the crows nest – they do fly-bys and come down for food, but keep their sanctuary a secret.
I know I talk about how small my town is. But I have known this guy for several years.Yet last night something clicked. He knows my Dad well, and perhaps more importantly used take the bus regularly with my youngest brother. Not just a small town, but a small county. First names are all well and good, but adding the surname, while not important on the one-to-one, adds in layers that make you part of your town.
A little like brambles. Before he knew who I am and our connection, he was explaining how brambles grow. They put out tendrils, and once away from the original, the end of the tendril puts down roots, and a whole new briar is born.
I guess we are all like that a little, with each of us the next tendril. Some of us are thorny, but all of us are reaching into our communities, creating and continuing the connections. And we occasionally meet a tendril from a different family, often without knowing it. Another root out into the stuff that keeps us together, keeps us whole.
I know I mentioned before that I lost family. Yesterday (8th) was the anniversary of my Mum’s passing. They are buried together in a family grave in our local graveyard, which is right beside our local supermarket. The graveyard is closed, and in any case a wall from the first abbey constructed in the town is dangerous. But it has a low wall around it, and from there I can see the grave only a few metres in. Chat with my Mum, and my brothers who have gone ahead of me.
And many times there are others along that wall, all properly socially distanced, but all doing the same thing. So we chat, not just with our departed loved ones, but with each other. Sometimes we just nod at each other, and quietly rest our heads on our arms.
Looking today at the recovered ground of my garden I realised that my mother is one of those tendrils, as are my brothers. Those of us along the wall are the next set of tendrils, reaching out and binding our community together, even when we do not know it. Brambles grow quickly, communities slowly. But the more deeply they burrow, the more they grow together. And even when some are cut back, the rest remember them.
And sometimes it is hard to know the you from your town. I for one have no complaints. And little things like the chat with my friend doing the gardening reminds me of that, and how far the tendrils reach.
Slighty Bemused‘s column appears here every Wednesday.
Pic by Slightly