Pecking around the petals

There is a touch of sadness in July at harvest time. A friend calls it the untidy season of petals shed like hopes. The scattered petals are untidy, to be brushed out of sight into a pile to be made into compost. School holidays are attuned to nature’s requirements. Schooling has always been shaped around harvest times. I can recall picking strawberries and potatoes after a plough had churned them up. It was fun to be away from the classroom with other children who in wartime gathered potatoes following a horse plough as all fuel was needed for the war effort. In times of need hips from hedgerows were turned into a sickly-sweet concoction that, my mother said she was told, was ‘good for you’ in spite of all the pricks from the thorns.

Nature is never tidy – do we want it to be? Tidiness is an expression of human control and therefore needs to be considered. In a household that is naturally untidy, however, I value it so that notebooks, diaries, pens, the book one is reading, the letter with crucial information, are not mislaid.

The outcome of one’s efforts, both mental and physical, are deposited for a while, and then forgotten to be recalled as lost, probably buried somewhere under, one hopes for one’s own relief, the mess of others. It helps to shift the blame and calm anxieties while the search is on.

The nesting season is over, but our thrushes and blackbirds are still in the garden disputing their territory and challenging the oversized woodpigeons. They peck around the petals. An urban fox is prowling in the dustbins area. Town and country life mingle

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