forty-five: earth(ly)

sorry friends, it’s another musical association.

one of my favourite sarah harmer songs is uniform grey, and in one of the verses it mentions her being in an airplane, “high above [her] earthly pain”…and that’s stuck with me. in fact i think of that line every time i fly, wondering if this is the trip i’ll be able to leave it all behind.

but then, as i wrote that, i thought about earth, like the rich black earth in which we plant things. i thought of its smell and about both of my grandparents, who had huge vegetable and flower gardens and spent every year from april to october on their knees, digging, planting, weeding, tending, harvesting. in particular i remember my grandmother’s hands, earth under her nails, in the kitchen. her apron smelling of dirt and of dill and onions. of love.


I can’t think of earth without thinking of my grandmother. An avid and exceptionally good gardener, it was her real passion. She would make the garden of whichever house they lived in completely beautiful. Designing it, placing ponds in, digging up borders, creating sections, creating a rose garden and just making it beautiful. Her gardens were never perfectly neat, straight lines or anything like that, they would curve all lovely with paths and places to sit, and the borders would be so many mixes of different flowers. Beautiful different coloured poppies in the summer, pinks, which always remind me of her, which I used to sketch in the garden, irises, my favourite. Whenever I went there, almost every day, if she wasnt busy with the girl guides or baking, she would be in her tracky bottoms, dirty with mud. Muddy hands and fingernails, always jobs to be doing in the garden, hands in the earth, planting or weeding or potting on or digging up veg. I actually enjoy it too sometimes, being outside hand in the soil, on my own, helping things grow.