After three years of super hard work, today is the end of an era. Assuming I pass my final module, today I completed the very last piece of my master’s. Phew.
It’s had its ups and downs – the Health and Safety assignment wasn’t the highlight of the course for me – but the research I’ve done over the last year for my dissertation has been hugely fulfilling and rewarding (thank you to the many of you who helped me with this).
But it’s also done something else. I had a forced break from blogging when the extended ‘screen time’ during the write-up of my dissertation prompted some pretty awful eye-strain-related headaches. But the written part of my dissertation went in in June, so what’s happened since?
I guess I’m in a bit of a different place. I think the learning I’ve done was so intensive that blogging, by comparison, doesn’t quite excite me as it did. I’d probably got to a point where my blogging formula had really exhausted its utility to me (primarily as a learning tool, as I thought through each garden I visited). Of course I can still learn from each and every garden I visit, but the intensity of learning probably isn’t what it was and I feel I’m ready for something new.
But what? I’ve spent the last three years dissecting literally hundreds of gardens as I’ve written my blog and I’ve loved every single minute of it. But I think I’ve got to the point where I’ve learnt so much, I’m ready to do something different with that learning. Perhaps move from being externally focussed to be internally focussed. Perhaps use all that learning and excitement and energy to make my ultimate garden.
On the very day that I handed my dissertation in, Paul and I moved into our new home in Oxfordshire. I’ve been pretty besotted ever since – with our new home, our new garden and of course, with my not-so-new-but-still-ever-lovely husband!
The garden is such a dream. I just walk around it on a cloud. It feels so magical. With four acres there is an infinite amount of work to do, yet I love it just how it is; nettles, bindweed, ground elder and all. Everyone else seems to walk around it in horror: how am I ever going to get it under control? But I feel no horror at all. The closest to horror is a concern that I might accidentally take away some of the magic along with the nettles, so I’m just slowly, slowly, peeling back one layer at a time, finding more treasures with each passing day. And each day my vision becomes clearer, my confidence grows and my excitement ratchets up another level.
I’m reminded of a comment by Kim on a recent post:
‘Something makes me think you may not have too much time for garden visiting though – your own may beckon you from dawn till dusk, and through the seasons. Bliss.’
I didn’t believe it at the time, but something has changed. It’s as though a switch has been flicked. I just want to be in my garden. I want to care for it, beautify it, nurture it and feel it nurture me in return. It feels an entirely different depth of relationship to the ones I’ve had with previous gardens. Is this true garden-love?!
If my priorities have changed, do I blog about my garden? I certainly have so much to learn there; writing it down would surely magnify this learning. Or do I just want to ‘be’ in my garden? To not feel the pressure to analyse and evaluate and report and photograph? I also feel a certain amount of uneasiness about posting primarily about my garden. As if it’s too much like blatant marketing, or ‘like’-seeking, or looking for approval in one way or another. It’s much more personal when it’s about your own private space, as opposed to the learnings from others’.
I’ve had several very thoughtful emails from blog readers, asking if I was OK in my virtual absence. And one came through yesterday, that made me take stock.
What my blog (and my dissertation) has taught me, is that writing things down helps to clarify my thinking, so given my uncertainty of where to go next with my blog, it seemed a great time to get writing. The answer hasn’t yet ‘binged’ up at me on the page, but I’m sure my subconsciousness will process my thoughts much better for having written this post and when I least expect it – just as with the very final piece of any design – the answer will indeed appear.
It’s a pensive time for me, but a very content, rather than troublesome, one. I wonder where it will take me next…