Winter Space

In winter, the work in gardens is about clearing away the old, mirroring natures's move towards spaciousness. Cutting down crispy brown stems that were so vibrant a few months ago, I look down and there is the earth! Hidden since springtime. Pruning roses brings light between the curved boughs and silhouettes jagged thorns. Every day more patches of light appear between branches, wide horizons move further away and boundaries decompose.


As plants go skyclad, dropping the colour and texture of their summer robes, they reveal the contours of their bare bones. We see the skeleton of the landscape that lies beneath it all and suddenly everything becomes clearer. We see the shapes and lines of structure that were always there, but that had been hidden by the drunken voluptuousness of summer.

There is no hiding in the winter landscape, no bushes to pee behind! All this space can be overwhelming and exposing. The hard edges and bare earth feel uncomfortable against our skin and our souls.
Yet by midwinter it is possible to experience some deep relief. The bareness cannot become any more bare! This is it! We are seeing things as they really are. There is a relief in the clarity and farsightedness that this bleakness offers. The presence of moon and stars, made more visible by longer nights, aids our navigation through time and space.

Seeing all that is here already, so clearly, helps us plan for growth. All this bare earth offers a haven for seeds, and the space between branches allows light through for germination. Fallen leaves will nourish the seedlings, which will grow to fill the space. So these moments of spaciousness offer us precious opportunities for clarity and growth. A chance to move beyond the boundried comfort of familiarity and towards the boundless possibilities of distant and wide horizons.  December 2016

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