In the woods, my head is spinning at all of the wild bounty springing forth from the trees and bushes. Elderberries as black as night hanging heavily like chandeliers, hawthorns bursting with bright red berries and, in a secret corner, a stash of sloes I have been patiently watching, waiting for the perfect moment at which to prise a few from their thick stalks and hold them hostage in the kitchen while I plan their sticky fate.
It’s amazing how much there is around us, most of it unseen because nobody is looking.
I’ve just finished the enlightening and terrifying book by Jaron Lanier “Ten Arguments For Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now” and trying to convince my 17-year-old daughter to read it. Her response was withering as she calmly informed her elder brother that I was suggesting she read “a parent book”.
Sometimes the gulf in understanding and connection between people seems so huge that there appears no way to bridge it.
Autumn’s bounty and my own particular fetish for plundering it is in stark contrast with themes of the book and, running like a seam underneath it, are the number of people I work with who maintain their own misery by looking for extra happiness instead of curating and cherishing the moments of it which come all on their own.
In the social media age making comparisons between ourselves and others is so simple, and therefore so is the propagation of the notion that we’re “not enough” when compared with all that we could be.
As anxiety rates soar there must be some correlation with the way we are living our lives. Yet we rarely seem interested in taking things away and creating simplicity believing, presumably, that if we can just do or achieve a bit more we’ll finally feel OK.
Saddest of all is that the suggestion we strip away unnecessary frippery seems to be heard less and less. As my son wisely pointed out, “Social media creates an echo chamber of your own beliefs”.
So if your beliefs are already hurting you what chance do you have?
“Unplugging”, “disconnecting”, “powering down” just for a while might be far more enriching and liberating than you imagine. It’s counter-intuitive to the zeitgeist of the age but the peace that descends is irrefutable.
In the kitchen, a batch of elderberry syrup bubbles away ready for bottling. Beth is baking delicious cookies and there is a hint of autumn in the air.
While we potter about together and she takes the dog out to play in the garden I am thinking back to my efforts at getting her to read a book she has no interest in reading. I realise that when I step back from demand is when things most consistently fall into place. When I don’t ask for anything is when I am most likely to be laden with riches. There is a lot to learn in the hedgerows.