Here is a clip from one of our Horticultural Heroines Vita Sackville-West, describing life’s simple pleasures, moments that are sometimes too small to mention, but not too insignificant. She describes them as ‘through leaves’ moments, taking the example of walking through dried leaves in autumn, which you would have to agree is a great pleasure, much like treading in frozen puddles in winter.
Since listening to this clip I have been trying to think of the little ‘through leaves’ pleasures that exist in the self-sufficiency lifestyle…
Picking fruit that has reached ripeness so that it just snaps away from the branch. Stepping into a warm glasshouse on a cold sunny morning (especially when the glasshouse smells of tomatoes or geraniums.) Slicing cooked beetroots. The moment a log fire ‘catches.’ Stroking the downy pod of some bean varieties.
Of course the laws of the universe insist, for everything an opposite, and so the self-sufficiency gardener must also endure ‘un-through leaves’ moments…
Cleaning saucepans after jam making. Picking crops in an aphid cloud. Digging compost that hasn’t completely broken down.
There are also some tasks that can tangle us in a ‘through-leaves-un-through-leaves’ confusion. For example weeding, there is nothing more ‘through leaves’ than pulling a tap-rooted weed from loose soil with all its root in tact, say a dandelion. Whereas pulling a weed that insists on snapping and leaving most of themselves behind in the soil (groundsel or horsetail) is very un-through leaves.
Take heed of life’s simple pleasures, as Vita says of popping fuchsia buds, ‘…lives there a man with soul so dead that he can fail to enjoy doing this. He has foregone the pleasures of his youth.’
Sky blue, air still (leaves still on trees, not yet through leaves-able), temp 11c.
Time for G&T