One of the current frustrations of being housebound is the way the outdoors calls to us. Our daily walking allowance aside, our household is lucky to have a garden, modest and tiny though it is. In addition to weeding, we’ve stated small by sowing some peas to grow into pea-shoots and micro greens. The trees are slow to come into leaf here in the north of England, I see the lilac just beginning to sprout, and I am ravenous for green shoots.
Any form of gardening, even growing some herbs on a windowsill, is obvious therapy right now. It…
- Keeps you connected with the bigger picture, nature, the seasons, the natural cycle of life and so fights self-preoccupation.
- Gives you something you can control, nurture, manage, at a time when so much feels out of our own hands.
- Provides an activity—at least in the form of harvesting—that releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps transmit signals of reward and pleasure.
- Soil, apparently, can even be an anti-depressant. At least, a study by the University of Bristol in partnership with University College London found that exposing mice to ‘friendly’ bacteria found in soil, altered their behaviour in a similar way to the effect produced by antidepressants.
I do not normally post uncontextualized quotes, but in honour of the spring-like weather we’re having here, I cannot resist a few that may be timely. Perhaps there will be one you can pick that helps you. Or perhaps you have your own favourite?
“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Margaret Atwood in Bluebeard’s Egg (1983).
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” Marcus Tullius Cicero
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson in essay Nature (1836)
“There is no time like Spring, when life’s alive in everything.” Christina Rossetti in Spring (1847?)