As We Are Called to Do
I fell in love with her last year, ‘tis true,
In the first wave of lockdown, when all was made new.
Nurtured and kept, through intense summer heat,
And blood orange skies from flames that did leap –
You puzzled me then, when in winter you shrank
to the depths of the dirt. My own soul sank.
But now, here are we, one year on –
And you have emerged! To prove me wrong!
For nature survives, as we, too, shall do –
And love, my heart, can be free to pursue.
© Catherine Clover 2021
What better hope is there than to be a witness at the birth of new creation? On this Sunday (4/25), following the celebration of Earth Day (22 April), and on a day in the Christian Year that is known as Good Shepherd Sunday, I am inspired to think of what I have around me that causes me to be both a caretaker of nature and a shepherd, or in this case, one who is a guardian of another. My bleeding heart plant embodies this perfectly for me.
I bought her last year in the first lockdown, at a time when my daughter and I took comfort in beginning to cultivate our balcony garden. We did so in the hope of attracting birds, butterflies and bees with our selection of container plants. While most shops were closed due to the indoor nature of their commerce, the garden centre around the corner remained opened for outdoor visits. I bought the bleeding heart in the hope that she would indeed come back this year. But with the terrible summer and autumn fires that filled our skies with particulates, and heat that just would not abate, I was certain she would not survive. In fact, over the winter, when these plants are meant to die back to their base, I could not see how there was any hope of her bringing forth new life, let alone to flower again.
I suppose it was the days and weeks when I kept her inside with the rest of the tiny potted garden, offering some shelter from the firestorms, talking to her as I did to the other plants, that helped her through a challenging time in her young life. I feel privileged to have participated in caring for her, guarding her, shielding her. And now, as I proudly gaze upon all the pandemic plants that have survived the past year, she is the one I am most proud of. Delicate and dainty, yet hearty and fertile, she is truly a wonder to behold.