Wednesday marked the end of No Mow May or in our garden No Mow November, December, January, February, March and April too. This year, after we cut all the garden back in the autumn, for the first time we decided to leave it completely alone, no scattering seeds, no faffing and see what happened. And although the experiment is still ongoing the results are beautiful so far.
My photography skills on my ancient iPhone do not do the gorgeous wildness justice but I’ve absolutely loved watching our little patch of garden springing to life with such voracity and variety!
I love how the little natural path, formed by my other half’s morning and evening trips to the pond to feed the fish, has totally different plant life growing than the other untouched parts. I love the huge daisys and the delicate buttercups, the tall grasses I don’t know the name of and the patches of clover. I love how we have massive dock leaves to compensate for the few nettles and I love how little poppies are just starting to poke through ready to bloom in the next few weeks. I love the buzz of the bees that have taken up residence in one of the bird houses and I love lying really still and watching a pair of little blue tits fly above my head, in and out of the other bird house, feeding their young. I love the dancing butterflies we spotted this week and I love the apples and pears starting to grow on the two intertwining trees that I know will provide delicious goodness in the crumbles I’ll make from their bounty in the autumn.
And it got me thinking, if this is what happens when we let the wild things be wild on such a tiny little patch of land what might happen if we let ourselves return to the wildness within us even just a little bit?
I love the word ‘wild’ itself but exactly what does it mean? To me it has always meant being free and unfettered and allowed to grow in your truest sense and be your most authentic self. When I was little, my mum used to call me her ‘Wildy Beast’ and I think that was a pretty accurate description of the 4 year old mud spattered, imagination driven, adventure loving me and somewhere, I have the pictures to prove it! But as I grew up, I started to hear the word used differently, in a way that had really negative connotations and exemplified behaviour that was often dangerous and destructive and that to me felt anything but wild. In my teens I could never understand for instance why people heavily under the influence of drink, substances or even other people were described as wild. How could you be wild when you are being controlled and influenced by something or someone? Surely that’s not being your natural, authentic self and you aren’t free so that can’t be wild can it? I started to dislike the word and distance myself from it.
And for a while I didn’t want to be associated with wildness because the examples I saw around me simply weren’t me.
But as I’ve grown older, as I’ve explored and enjoyed wildness in the natural world, my perspective has started to shift again and bring me full circle back to the wonderful, joyful definition of wildness I started with. So today I thought I’d look the word up in a dictionary or two and amongst the myriad of mixed definitions both positive and negative these two stood out to me and resonate with how I like to view the word.
1) A wild, free, or natural state or existence
2) Occurring, growing, or living in a natural state; not domesticated, cultivated, or tamed:
When I read those words, I wonder what might happen if we stopped being poked and pruned and tamed and shamed into fitting someone or something else’s ideas of how we should be and allowed ourselves to just be?
What might grow? What wonderful things might we bring forth? What hidden treasure might we find within? What might come alive for us and take up residence and put down roots in our own lives? What might we find had been hidden or laid dormant just below the surface just waiting for the right conditions to be able to bloom?
And how can we provide those conditions for ourselves? What needs to change in order for that to happen? What do we need to stop doing and remove? What do we need to let go of? And what do we need to start doing and embrace more of?
And how, if we do those things, might it positively affect the world around us?
I’m not advocating for total anarchy but for allowing a return to or perhaps a discovery of our true nature before anything got in the way to bend, twist or tame it. I for one plan to embrace more of my wildness again and who knows what wonderful things might happen when we just let the wild things be wild?