It has been interesting and still is, to see people’s journey through this time of uncertainty and… worries. They show the view from their window and explain how they feel.
And this has challenged me into deep reflection: What do I see through MY Window?
The window of my past and my present!
My window has vistas of a garden.
I have a deep connection to the vegetal world. It started when I was about 3 or 4. My father, my mother, my sister, me and brother No 1 (there are 4 brothers after me!), used to live with my father’s parents, in a village in the north of France. It was early 50s. Life was still difficult such a short time after WW II. Most people used to grow their own fruit and vegetables. Some, like us had chickens, some also kept rabbits.
My grandfather was a very keen gardener and I was following him around everywhere. He would take me with him to go and buy seeds. That day, he had bought carrot seeds. He had prepared the soil and sent me to get the seeds from my grandmother who was in the kitchen. She had put them in a little cup, just big enough to hold in my little hands. I followed the path in the middle of the two garden beds and tripped, scattering most of the very tiny seeds over the edge of the path. I was shattered. My grandfather got some twine and some sticks and made a circle around the spot. He helped me look after the patch and one day, tiny green shoots started to poke out of the ground.
He was very kind and patient and shelling fresh peas or dried beans with him was always a treat. He had been injured during WW I. A bullet had shattered the patella of his right knee and he had a stiff leg. He would sit on a chair with his leg spread out in front of him and I would sit near him on a small stool. When we were finished, he would take a large handful out of his container and put it in mine. And he would tell my grandmother: “Look how clever she is”.
Memories come of vegetables growing in the garden and trees laden with plums, pears and apples. Preserves and jams were made to supply us with produce during our long winters. Tinned food had started to appear on the grocer’s shelves. Meat was a luxury and fish reserved for Fridays. I remember my grandmother slaughtering a chicken and saying: “I thank you for giving your life so that we may eat”. Nothing much was wasted.
Idyllic life? Not at all! People had to make do with what was available. And for some families, life was difficult.
When I look out of my window, I see a well-tended garden. A very different garden, with citrus trees and many rosebushes, pruned and fertilised, ready for spring. The citrus fruit and the vegetables come in all shapes and sizes, as they should do. When in bloom, the roses have long or short stems and the flowers sometimes have blemishes. But their perfume is beautiful. The vegetable patch supplies me with fresh produce, which I share around.
In these troubled times, my garden gives me a feeling of contentment. It helps me to meditate. It grants me peace. I am grateful.
Today, I remove the weeds, I loosen up the soil with a fork, I fertilise, I plant, I mulch.
Today’s toil brings the gratification of tomorrow’s harvest.
There is no room for anger or worry in a garden. There is trust in nature. The grubs have eaten some of the leaves? They needed to eat to grow and become butterflies and other insects, which in turn will benefit production in the garden. I try to let some plants go to flower and seeds for this purpose. And they keep the bees happy!
Life evolves constantly and slowly shapes us into the child, the adolescent and the adult we transform into. Reaching this point in my ‘present’ has been a slow process. I have stumbled, become discouraged. I have hurt people and I have been hurt. There has been happiness and sorrow.
Memories pass me by. In front of me are two small passport photos of my parents, both gone more than twenty years now. And yet, they still appear “young and alive” and they still look at me and smile. They have instilled in me values, which were part of who they were: kindness, compassion, gratitude and generosity, giving meaning to a life well lived.
A note from Christiane: The View from my Window group was started because of the COVID lockdown. On April 29th the countries started the deconfinement and the decision was made not to accept new members or new pictures anymore.There are more than 2,300,000 members.
Christiane Le Cornu completed the Writing on Spirituality with Reiki webclass and we are thrilled to be able to publish this piece that she created during the webclass.