It’s less than a week since I arrived back from Sweden and the transition to everyday life has been harder than ever. The break was perfect on all levels and once home I realised that my body made it across the North Sea whilst my soul was still residing in the summer house, wandering blissfully on the land, clambering on the rocks.
To aid the unification of body and soul I set out to do what often helps in these circumstances. When I was younger that would have meant a splurge at a bookstore after hours of browsing. As an adult and keen gardener I headed to the local garden centre and spurred on by the rare warm sunshine the temperamental trolley was soon filled to the brim. Muttering at the trolley under my breath I steered the plants to the car and kept my fingers crossed for a sunny Sunday.
Today I woke to fair weather and keen to get started I left the housework and headed out to the garden. Quickly a new solace took hold of me, gently pulling or cutting the plants from the tight pots and planting with joy. Childlike glee swept over me as soil spilt onto the grass, the patio; little granules of compost sneaking their way into my shoes. One old and tired plant needed to be replaced and proved particularly stubborn on being pulled out. I tried digging it out with a trowel. No luck. Then it was time for the fork and with satisfaction I attacked the rock hard roots, hacking away! At last, I managed to replace it with a beautiful new flower. I could feel my spirits lift.
A few hours later everything was in place…happily including my soul!
That is when the idea for this post struck me…another book-style post is partially written but just didn’t feel right at the moment and I had initially left comments on my last post on Bert Håge Häverö but turned them off at the last moment as I was dazed and exhausted upon my return to the UK, feeling overwhelmed to respond.
Thank you all for being patient; I’m slowly catching up on your blogs and look forward to easing into normality in the coming week. Meanwhile, I want to finish with one poem featured on Brainpickings this morning. Maria Popova is a gifted writer and her articles are always a treat and consist of interesting, informative and thought-provoking essays on writers/artists/philosophers and it was:
‘Founded in 2006 as a weekly email that went out to seven friends and eventually brought online, the site was included in the Library of Congress permanent web archive in 2012.’ *
Today’s feature on poet Jane Hirshfield is particularly relevant as it was Earth Day yesterday. Enjoy.
ON THE FIFTH DAY
by Jane Hirshfield
On the fifth day
the scientists who studied the rivers
were forbidden to speak
or to study the rivers.
The scientists who studied the air
were told not to speak of the air,
and the ones who worked for the farmers
and the ones who worked for the bees.
Someone, from deep in the Badlands,
began posting facts.
The facts were told not to speak
and were taken away.
The facts, surprised to be taken, were silent.
Now it was only the rivers
that spoke of the rivers,
and only the wind that spoke of its bees,
while the unpausing factual buds of the fruit trees
continued to move toward their fruit.
The silence spoke loudly of silence,
and the rivers kept speaking,
of rivers, of boulders and air.
In gravity, earless and tongueless,
the untested rivers kept speaking.
Bus drivers, shelf stockers,
code writers, machinists, accountants,
lab techs, cellists kept speaking.
They spoke, the fifth day,
* From Maria Povova on https://www.brainpickings.org
93 thoughts on “TRANSITION”
Stunning flowers – and the poem you quoted is magnificent, Annika. I recently turned off comments on a blog post too as I had felt quite mentally tired.. It’s all about balance and what feels comfortable. Is Sweden where your family comes from? I love your name Annika so that’s why I ask 🙂
Thank you so much, Christy – the flowers have been beautiful this summer which is probably down to the right combination of rain and sun! 😀 The poem is so moving and I was delighted to share it here. I totally understood that you had to turn the comments off; you have a lot of posts and it can be absolutely exhausting trying to keep up as well as mentally and emotionally draining. Do take care of yourself! 😀❤️ I was born in Sweden and a lot of my family are still there although I came to the UK as a young child and grew up here. Aww…thank you for your lovely comment about my name and it is very Swedish and means ‘little Anna’ – it was my brother’s suggestions. Bless. 😀
Your flowers are gorgeous. It’s such a good feeling to have spots of color outside to wander around and gaze at as if it’s the first time you’ve seen them.
Thank you for your beautiful comment, Lisa – that’s just the feeling I experience and I suppose there is something new each day to witness in the garden!
your writings are always a delight.
Thank you so much, Paul! 😀 That means a lot to me!
Beautiful flowers Annika, they are flouishing under your enthusiastic care. Happy Sunday, enjoy your day. 🙂
Thank you so much, Marje! 😀 I’m slightly pot-mad…but really must tackle those flower borders…it’s just the weeds are so numerous! 😀😀 Yep, the flowers are doing well although despite the grey weather they get dry very quickly so I’ve been it watering on the cold evenings! Hope you’re having a good week…I enjoyed reading about your new job and hope you get to post some of those work related stories!
I have to do some gardening today Annika so must get off social media! Also I have to sort out one of my orchids which is needing a bit of TLC… I may post something work related at some point but at the moment I am concentrating on getting things ready for my forthcoming release… will be doing some interviews with my characters soon! Keep an eye out for my interview with Shadow… 🙂
I’m so impressed with anyone who manages to keep orchids alive and flourishing! Well done! Enjoy your gardening break and yes, can’t wait to learn more about Shadow…terrific name! Good luck with your book launch, exciting times!
Thank you Annika. Perhaps it is because orchids are my favourite flower. Thanks for the thumbs up on Shadows name and for your continued support. Yes, indeed exciting times ahead, I just hope I am up to the challenge! Lol… 🙂
Love the colours!
I agree, Kev and they are very much needed in this grey gloomy weather at the moment!
Such gorgeous flowers and lovely thoughts
Many thanks, Lynz, this was a creative thoughtful day and it is such a joy to see the flowers every day in the garden!
Fantastic Annika. Love the pictures..Proof positive that spring has arrived despite current Artic temperatures indicating otherwise. I always find my spirits are lifted this time of year as winter is finally banished for another year and plants begin to show their colourful splendour. And the rain is warmer too!
,PS I see you are into pots – I know someone similar (me!) who would fill their garden with lots of pots if they could.
Mike, I take your word on the rain being warmer!!😀 I still have my winter coat out and ready for the cold Spring mornings…grrr! But Spring is most definitely here and every day I’m amazed by their beauty and colour – a real joy to behold. Yeah, another fan of pots!! Many thanks for your lovely comment and so glad you liked the photos!😃
Gorgeous photos. I wondered if you’d gone to Sweden.
Yep…I went to Sweden over Easter and as you can read here, had a bit of troubling settling back here in the UK! Have a lovely weekend, Jessica! 😀❤️
Such beautiful flowers, Annika, and a lovely poem. A fitting celebration of Earth Day. 🙂
Thank you so much, Carol! 😀 The poem was just perfect for the occasion and the flowers a joy to plant – and they’re still alive!! That always seems to surprise me!
Thank you for posting that poem Annika…I love it. I also enjoyed reading about how gardening has been part of your transition 🌷🌷🌷
Thank you so much, Janice…the gardening day proved a real tonic and now the weather finally seems to be warming up I can head out to tackle those weeds! 😀
Have fun :))
What a wonderful poetic tribute to Earth Day, Annika. I also love your gorgeous flowers. Gardening is good for the soul. 😀
Thank you, Lana!😀❤️ I missed posting on actual Earth Day so it felt right to pay tribute to it here – and then gardening is an intricate part of nature, nurturing and creating outdoors, looking after our little patch of Earth! Such a healing spiritual activity – although I never thought so as young!! Just a chore then!
Oh, Annika! I loved this post so brimming and overflowing with first, longing for your “homeland.” Secondly, with real love of gardening, nature and beauty!
Thank you ever so much for sharing lots of tidbits within your storybook post. . . 🌸💮🌷
The ornery roots didn’t stand a chance against your indomitable spirit. Hugs xo ~ Robin
Robin, your lovely comments always leave me smiling…and this one was no exception. ‘The ornery roots didn’t stand a chance against your indomitable spirit. ‘ I can’t help but giggle reading this…so true and you know me only too well! 😀 You’re insightful and yes, there is such a longing for Sweden – the discussion what is and feels like my ‘homeland’ would be another long conversation alone! The beauty, peace, space of our place in Sweden is wonderful and the more I visit the more confused I become. After this creative day outdoors I feel settled once again, body and soul reunited! Thank you so much and I’m so happy you like the ‘storybook’ post. (I love that you see it as a storybook!) ❤️
I am very pleased with your finding my phrases fun (silly) enough to giggle at, Annika. 😀 You’re welcome for my description of your post being like a storybook. I just “call them like I see them!” Have a peaceful day tomorrow while you bask in pretty colors and sweetly scented air wafting around you on your deck. xo
Hi Annika! 🙂 I still go to the book store for solace. (grin) But Peggy is with you on plants, every spring. My job is weed whacking and tree trimming and dirt moving. Really liked the poem. How appropriate. Happily, the scientists are insisting on making noise. –Curt
Hi Curt! Glad you still find solace in visiting the bookshops…and Peggy’s hers in the garden.😀 It’s spiritually healing to help nature create a beautiful garden, choosing the flowers, the best place for them – a communion of sorts! The heavy work I leave to my husband and I had to call on him to lug the pots around once all finished!
Sounds like your husband and I have the same job, Annika. 🙂 –Curt
What an amazing and incredibly uplifting poem by Maria and so incredibly apt at this time. And as for those flowers and immersing yourself in their color and beauty, how could you not fail to be grounded and at peace. 🌸🌹 Gardening is so therapeutic. I hope you’re having a happy week Annika. Beautiful post.
Miriam, being outdoors in nature has always been an important part of my life and whilst living in Yorkshire I used to take long rambles on the beautiful moors. Gardening like this, planting such lovely flowers, creating a harmonious outdoor space is definitely grounding and it felt so good to let my soul settle back home this way. 😀❤️ So glad you liked the poem too…a beautiful message and one can hope it will be heeded.
Welcome back Annika. I do so know what you mean about bringing your body back and leaving part of your soul behind somewhere you don’t want to leave. I went through that a few weeks ago coming back home from my beautiful Arizona. If we could only be in two places at once, lol. But I’m glad you’re getting inspired with the sunshine and beautiful flowers. And I know well what you mean about getting back into the groove of things. 🙂
Thank you, Debby and I can well imagine that you experienced something similar after your trips this year. From your posts and photos you seem so relaxed and settled into your break it just isn’t for the soul to make that sudden transition back to everyday life! 😀The flowers, gardening and being out helped so much as you can tell…and the sunshine too even if the temperatures have unseasonally dropped to freezing at night!
It appears we both go through the same withdrawl, yet nature has a way of calming the soul. 🙂 x
Love the way you transition from vacation mode back! Also thank you for sharing “On the Fifth Day.” It was a good reminder of the power of silence.
There is nothing quite like being outside and working the ground to fully return! It worked a treat for me! You’re welcome and only too happy to share…😀
Your transition with pots of flowers cheered up my Monday! May we always allow nature to speak.
Glad this brightened up your Monday, Pam! 😀 It can be tricky to listen to nature with so much going on in life and to learn to tune out that ‘internal’ chatter. My ears finally acclimatised to the silence and I began to wonder what the birds are all chatting about!😀
Those flowers are gorgeous. I’ve forgotten how invigorating it was (in my past) to create container gardens, place them all around, and watch them bloom. There is life outside of writing, you say?
Haha!! 😀😃Yep, there’s definitely a world outside of writing…I keep trying to escape it to have a few more hours a week to write! Gardening is just wonderful and especially planting like this…I do love my pots although I have to remember to water them often! Any chance you can restart with some containers yourself…I wonder if there is a sense of longing behind your words??
Gorgeous flowers–and I can see how revamping your garden would literally help you to become more grounded after a trip. I planted my garden last weekend myself. It’s the type of thing that can make you feel good for quite a long time. 🙂
Cathleen, great that you could be out and plant your garden last weekend – the weather seems to be rather fickle at the moment. I hadn’t expected to feel quite so rejuvenated and positive afterwards…but it had got to the stage where I couldn’t even settle with a book!! I’m still enjoying going out to admire the flowers and just hope it soon warms up enough to sit out for dinners.Wishing you much joy over Spring and Summer in your newly planted garden! 😀
Lovely – I seem to feel the therapeutic vibes via your post and photos!
I’m so glad about that, Leslie! 😀 The day was very therapeutic for me…I hoped to pass a bit of this on to everyone here!😀
Lovely and thoughtful, Annika.
Many thanks, Cynthia! 😀 I had many hours to think without consciously ‘thinking’ whilst pottering away. Bliss! 😃
Beautiful pics, Annika! Such lovely flowers! It’s amazing how much working with your hands in the soil can help bring you back to center. That’s the part of gardening I love, the opportunity to become close to the earth and nature. And a lovely, poignant poem! So timely in these unsettled times. Thank you for sharing!
Julie, I was thinking you particularly would enjoy this post…even if there were no vegetable planting involved! 😃 I think it is that literal grounding, connection to the earth, that is so healing…and just being outdoors with all external pressures oozing away. So glad you liked the photos and the poem.
It’s a satisfying feeling, Isn’t it? 🙂 🙂 We brought just 3 back from Harrogate. The lovely plum and white orchid in my post to supplement an old tired one, a gorgeous lemon and crimson iris which is now a bit rain battered, and a black and gold primula for Mick. It’s not yet in flower so it stands a chance. Happy Monday!
Jo, they sound wonderful and I remember the orchid from your blog…how do you get them to survive??!! A friend brought me one a few years ago and by her next visit six months later I had to admit defeat, regretfully. I think I would have had to restrained in Harrogate otherwise I would have wanted to buy so much! Happy Gardening, Jo!!😃 May the sun soon shine warmer and allow us to sit out with a glass of white wine and admire our handiwork!😃❤️
I did actually sit in the garden with a book for a while today (between showers 🙂 ). Mick treats his houseplants rough. They all get watered once a week and like it! Or not… We’ve had this one for a number of years and it flowers every year. Previously though we had a white one that didn’t like the rough treatment. 🙂
Welcome back, Annika. It sounds as though your holiday was good for the soul. It seems from your pictures that your soul has now crossed the North Sea and is finally reunited with your body. Enjoy England in the Spring.
Thank you, Peter and I am definitely enjoying England in the spring, even more so now I’ve settled back. Spring is the best season in the UK I often feel, with autumn a close second! Yep, great to have body and soul reunited…the separation is doing wonders for the garden!
beautiful pics. thoughtful poem. an enriching post. many thanks Annika.
Thank you so much, Libby! 😃 So glad you liked the post. ❤️
Annika, your flowers are lovely, their colors spectacular. They lifted my spirits so no wonder that you can’t help but go out and admire them. Glad you’re back xxx
Thank you, Carol and it’s good to be back…and to have slotted into life here in England again. I think I wanted to make a real splash of colour with the flowers this time round – the purple one is magical in the evening and seems to be lit from inside. Oh, I make sure to pop out often during the day if I can. 😀❤️
Sometimes it’s harder to come home than others! But getting your hands into the earth, I think, was a good way to make that transition Annika, and now you have lots of lovely flowers to admire. I don’t have a garden, but a yard with pots, and I’ve been gardening today on a lovely spring day – it does nourish the soul! Welcome home 🙂
Yeah! Another person mad about pots! 😀 I do get teased for my obsession with pots but I caught the bug years ago when I had a smaller garden! Great that you had a lovely soulful time out gardening too – replenishing the weary spirits! The therapeutic value of gardening has been known for some while but I’ve never considered it before – worked like magic though!😀 Wishing you a lovely Spring and Summer in your garden – and don’t forget to keep watering!
What’s not to love about a post celebrating flowers? Most of mine are shrubs/perennials and my annuals are veg, although I do let them flower and go to seed for more plants later. Sometimes I am disappointed when I have weeded and pruned and seeded and replanted and … nothing left to do.damn! Got to clean the house 😦
I know…grr…then there is just no excuse left for leaving the housework! 😃 On this particular Sunday, I went on ‘washing-up strike’ and my husband did that whilst I dashed out to garden…I wasn’t going to miss out on the sunny day! As you live in Gibralter (I think) I assume the plants and shrubs are quite different from the UK to cope with the Mediterranean heat? What veg do you grow?
I do live in Gib but I grow my veg at my Spanish home. Acelgas, which I think is spinach beet or swiss chard. Or something. Loads of lettuce and herbs, especially basil and parsley. I’ve also grown carrots, potatoes, a few radishes and measly beetroot, broad beans (great crop), peas (less so), and a few cabbages, plus garlic. What I’ve learned with shortage of space is to crop early and just take the veg young. I also do crop rotation which doesn’t seem to happen where I live, so it’s difficult to fit in the right veg for the right time of year. Right now I’ve got brassicas in but no idea if they will work! I’m useless on tomatoes, cucumber, aubergine etc, although I did manage a nice artichoke. Once. Past June, everything goes on holiday, nothing until late August/September. Just too hot. I live in a campo area in Spain so the fields are full of the veg for the season which is a guide plus we have a great local village shop for seeds and plants and potatoes and garlic and herbs. In Gib, I have mint on the windowsill (inside), plus parsley which has died, and a flowering cactus!
Wow!! I feel humbled – you have a lot of experience here! I’ve just grown a some carrots, tomatoes and potatoes in the past. I had to smile at your parsley…they seem to just die off without reason I’ve found!
Parsley was useless in the UK. Brill here. But chives and mint don’t work in my part of Spain. UK successes were potatoes, cabbage, spinach, mizuna, lettuce, scarlet runners. Failures were toms, onions, and peas were mediocre. I don’t know whether it is soil, climate or fluke. I used to use seaweed fetiliser in the UK, saw it once here but it had gone by the time I went back 😦
Welcome back from your trip to Sweden, Annika! It sounds as if you had a wonderful day planting flowers and enjoying spring! Flowers provide such a lift, don’t they? I was happy to see some pansies in with your mix because they are my favorites. We only have the wild ones now, but they are pretty and it’s so fun to see what color combinations will pop up and where their seeds from last year landed! I too am looking forward to getting back in a routine for a bit, although we have two graduations this spring, so I will be busy with those too!
Firstly, congratulations on the two graduations this Spring! 😀😃 Oh, they have to come first…have a great time on these special occasions. This was the first real gardening day this Spring and such a healing few hours…I had really been out of sorts ever since coming home but after planting this lot I finally felt I’d landed! I love pansies and they are so hardy and often the only colour during Autumn and winter. These are new for the season and hence look bright and sparky as opposed to the ones from last October. Wishing you many happy gardening hours (between celebrations etc)! 🎉
You rewarded your readers with beautiful fruit of your labors. It would be wonderful if we listened to the voices of nature instead of the pundits, wouldn’t it.
Bernadette, how true! With so much going on in UK and Europe politically, as well as the States, I listen even more to nature than ever! It seems to be the only thing that makes sense anymore! 😀 It’s a delight to share the beauty of the flowers here with everyone…I find them so soothing and beautiful.
Beautiful blooms and a thought provoking poem both point to the ‘treasures’ we are gifted with and entrusted to care for. Thanks so much for sharing, Annika! 🙂 ❤
Treasures indeed, Bette and I feel so lucky to have this space in which to be creative and to find peace…hopefully the flowers entrusted in my care will do well! This was not always the case when I started working on my first garden…I tended to weed out the flower shoots by mistake!!😀
Lovely post, and such beautiful flowers! A wonderful poem too. Happy Spring , Annika. 🙂
Iris, I thought you’d like the poem…it is very special and timely. So glad you liked the post and the flowers. Yeah, Happy Spring indeed! 😀
It is never easy to drag your life back on the track Aninika but maybe being as creative as this will have helped brighten your day too xxxx.
Shey, you’re too right about it being difficult to get back to normal after a holiday and this time was rather exceptional. Getting out in the garden was the best remedy…and Ifelt amazingly refreshed and composed afterward.
What a beautiful and joyful post you have given us on your return. These flowers just glow
and how can you not smile back.
Glad your soul now also arrived.:) I know all too well the desolate feeling whilst body and soul wander in separate places. Have learnt to be patient.
I als love the poem by Jane Hirshfield, where all is silenced and only nature speaks.
Thank you Annika
Thank you so much for your lovely warm words, Mirja! 😀 Patience is not my virtue I must admit and I didn’t like the dislocated feeling at all…do you have any tricks to overcome this sensation? I’m so glad you liked the post and the flowers do indeed seem to glow and the purple one is almost iridescent in the evening, a surreal colour. Yeah, I can well imagine you would enjoy the poem and as a nature lover delight in the quiet of the natural world, letting it speak aloud! ❤️
What a beautiful garden. Shows how wonderfully you tend to it. Very pretty.
☺️☺️ Thank you so much, Carrie! However, I didn’t take any photos of the bindweed clogging up some of the borders! Grr…must tackle that soon!
What a stunning garden, Annikka! And the poem is so fitting too. Happy Spring.😊
Thank you so much, Khaya! 😃 Happy Spring to you too! It’s wonderful that it finally seems to have arrived properly.
Whenever I walk in nature, I feel a sense of belonging, of coming home. I keep this interview by Jane Hirshfield close at hand to read from time to time, to remind me to keep poetry close to my heart.
Nature is also for me the best form of connecting with myself, others and the world – of finding space for my spirit to roam and re-group!
Thank you so much for the link to the Jane Hirshfield interview – I must admit I’ve never heard of her before. The interview is wonderful, her incisive reflections on poetry so intelligent and refreshing. I’m bookmarking this to come back to.
So pretty, Annika. Gardens are very “grounding” and it’s peaceful work, even when you’re hacking at stubborn roots! We had our first sunny day on Friday and I did lots of cleaning out beds and weeding. Not quite done, but I’m so looking forward to a trip to the garden center when the rain lets up a little more. Your flowers look gorgeous and I’m inspired just by looking at the photos. Happy Spring!
Trying to get the roots out was surprisingly therapeutic! Yeah, Diana! So glad you’ve had some sun (even if only for a day!) and Spring warmth is finally on the way for you. It is so satisfying to start working the garden and it sounds like you’ve got a lot of the preparatory work done – all in time to visit the garden centre! Oh, I’m so happy with the new flowers and this year I’m going to make sure I water them all often!
Coming back with such beautiful and bright flowers speak about your state of mind Annika! Breaks are always so refreshing for the mind!
Flowers are so alluring that we can look at their smiling shapes for hours, their colors are so uplifting! I love them. Thanks for sharing those pics.
That poem is so relevant and the poet says it all in the phrase…’forbidden to speak’…this has always been the attitude towards Mother Nature. Burying our head in the sand only spells doom! William Wordsworth had lamented more than a century ago:
“To her fair works did nature link The human soul that through me ran; And much it grieved my heart to think What man has made of man.”
Thanks for highlighting the issue by sharing this wonderful poem.
Balroop, you have a wonderful knowledge of poetry and thank you for sharing Woodworth’s words…how true, alas! I’m so glad you liked the poem, it touched me as I read it this morning and sadly appropriate for our times…my those voices speak in the silence!
The garden is full of vibrant colours at the moment and a real joy to behold – some of the pots I’ve put in the darker corners to brighten them up and they are definitely making me smile every time I look at them. It is my pleasure to share the photos here on WP! 😃❤️
I’m so happy you had a nice and relaxing holiday, Annika. Your flowers are absolutely stunning. The colors are so vivid. On this rainy and dreary Sunday, they certainly are a bright spot to my day. Enjoy the time in your garden!
Jill, I’m so happy these flowers could brighten your grey day…if I could I’d parcel up and send you some of the lovely sunshine that has arrived this afternoon!😀 It’s proving a perfect day for the gardening, just want my soul needed! Hope you’re having a lovely Sunday and that the weather lifts for you too.❤️
The poem is so telling and appropriate for Earth Day, Annika. Some want to call this day a day of mourning, but I refuse to believe that all is lost.
Your flowers are lovely. More and more I’m becoming one who’d rather play in the dirt than anything else, except for writing. It’s good to have you back…
Ahh…many thanks, JC and it’s good to be back. I must say I’ve never been quite this unsettled upon a return home.
The poem was written as a form of ‘protesting the anti-fact, anti-truth, anti-science political climate’ and still had a connection with Earth Day. I hadn’t heard of anyone suggesting this is a day of mourning – that is such a negative point of view and which I couldn’t share either.
So glad you liked the flowers – I can’t help but go out and admire them during the day!