We are in mid-winter, the season of death and dying behind us. This year, I did not take notice of the nature’s dying, focused as I was on the nature of human death. Shattered, fragmented, turned upside down, inside out and ultimately inwards by my mother’s passing away in September. Now it is just stillness. The nature is holding its breath. I am slowly breathing out. Waiting for the next intake of air, of life, of possibility. Not yet able to anticipate it, only cradling the fragile faith that it must come.
I have tried so hard to focus on the cyclicality of it all. On the meaning and inevitability of demise before rebirth. I cannot. The lesson I know the nature, and gardening, is supposed to teach me, refuses to make sense. There is no rebirth, not literally, not for humans, not in this world.
There is a cross laid out in purple heather on my mother’s grave. It is in full blossom now. There are primulas and some small rose bushes, too, blooming still because the winter’s been so mild.
How I managed to plant some bulbs in my garden back in November, I do not know. I barely remember those days and I certainly cannot recall the tulip varieties. Planted in pots, small and moveable, with one eye now always on this new sliver of land which we are now bound to and bound to look after, the cemetery plot.
It is a beautiful old cemetery, a vast yet intimate, melancholy garden, nature and human emotions intertwined and bared. Maybe someday I will find words to write about it.
The winter is so insipid it is hard to believe – in it, or anything else. How I long for whiteness and wintriness, frozenness and bitterness; as within so without; it might then – just maybe – make some sense. All the Christmases and New Years, Catholic and Orthodox, in new and old calendars, that our family would ordinarily celebrate, have come and gone, and still the lesson of renewal does not sink in. I cannot touch the garden. My mother’s first birthday last week, some more primulas and more bulbs on the grave. And stillness.