“You are not alone.”
This was the message I received when working from my garden the other day. It was oddly reassuring. I know I’m not alone—I know we’re not alone. I believe in plant spirits, and animal spirits, and mineral spirits. It’s been a stretch for me to open up to the possibility that other things have spirits, too, but I’m now a believer in that, too.
My work flow hasn’t changed much since we went into lockdown/quarantine for COVID-19. I’ve worked from home for years, and I have a comfortable home office. But a few weeks into lockdown, I started feeling increasingly uncomfortable as I worked from my home office. I wasn’t able to concentrate as well. I wasn’t getting much work done.
Then, a few days ago, I decided to work from the little table and chairs we have in our tiny garden. I thought I’d just head out and do an hour or two of work outside, but I ended up working outdoors the entire afternoon—and I was more productive than I had been in weeks.
I was also happier.
Surrounded by living things—my small, untidy garden plants—I felt joyful. As the light breeze rustled the leaves in the trees, I managed to get more work done in less time. As the afternoon sunlight shifted across my new workplace, I enjoyed my work more than I had in weeks. The birdsong was delightful. I felt creative. I felt alive.
I felt supported by the green things around me. The vibrant energy of the plants was lifting me up. It was stimulating my creative energy, it was heightening my focus, and it was bringing me joy. Each evening as I came into the house with my laptop and notebooks, I enthusiastically proclaimed to my husband how much I had enjoyed working outdoors…yet again.
Sitting in my garden each day, I was enveloped in beauty: the little heather was blooming from the start, but as the week progressed I saw the first yellow rosebud open up. Other plants continued the unfolding of their petals as they burst into bloom. The lone foxglove, which had put up its spike in the days prior, opened its bright purplish-pink buds little by little. The ‘Johnson’s Blue’ cranesbill unfolded its little flowers, and the scented pelargonium followed its lead. This morning, I noticed the chive had opened its buds. A strawberry pot, sitting next to my table, discarded its petals as tiny green berries formed in place of the flowers.
Nature provides. It provides all our basic needs: shelter, sustenance, hydration. And it also provides us with energy to support us in our lives.
When the spirit of my little garden spoke up to remind me that I was not alone, I finally understood exactly why I had enjoyed such a beautiful week working from the garden. Yes, the weather was gorgeous. Yes, it was nice to be outdoors. And yet it was so much more than that: the energy of my garden (plants, animals, and minerals) had uplifted my mood and had helped me to do the things I needed to get done for work. The spirits of my garden had supported me.
Most of us are still in lockdown or quarantine. Some of us may be feeling a bit of cabin fever by now, as I was in the past couple of weeks. But making a small shift in our lives can sometimes make a big difference. For me, it was working outdoors in my garden. For others, it may be going on a walk, or a run…or exploring a new trail.
We are not alone. And when we allow ourselves to be supported by Nature, it can make things easier. Even in these strange and unusual times.
Holly Worton is a podcaster and author of nine books who helps people get to know themselves better through connecting with Nature, so they can feel happier and more fulfilled. Holly enjoys spending time outdoors, walking long-distance trails and exploring Britain’s sacred sites. She is a member of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids.