“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
~ Anaïs Nin
My boyfriend’s flat is in East London just across the Lea River from the Olympic Park. While I don’t usually work up much of an appetite for exercise (I’m very lucky to be living long after the sabre-toothed tiger died out), I sure have made use of the once-a-day exercise slot to get out of the house. The Olympics have been postponed and the only discipline I might have a chance to qualify for is icecream gobbling if ever it were to be invented. But I’ve increased my running radius to a point where I can cover a lot of the grounds around the Olympic stadium currently all silent (apart from the still ongoing once weekly firedrill that has emergency messages broadcasting loud enough I’m surprised it can’t be heard in Bermondsey). So along I jog at a pace just fast enough not to be accused of engaging in non-essential loitering, but definitely slow enough to watch the winter world unfurl into spring. Day by day grass started growing, ducklings appeared, the banks along the canals and rivers around the park have blossomed into the most astounding carpet of bright orange Californian poppies.
The Samye Dzong allotment, too, is emerging from hibernation. What a joy, when the tulips first pushed their bright red flower cups towards the sky just the week before the lockdown started. I’ve been making the occasional visit since (according to the secretary of the Rotherhithe Horticultural Society, which runs our allotment, working our plots could reasonably be considered our one exercise activity a day).
The foxgloves never really died back all through the winter and are already in full bloom now. I struggled to get the sweetpeas going. With garden centres closed and online seed suppliers much in demand, it appears tricky to do much growing just now.
In my last week at the office I had managed to go to the garden centre next door and get tomato and chard seed. With all my time spent in the flat and thanks to a south-facing balcony, the sprouts that emerged had a great start in life and have been released out of lockdown early to fend for themselves on our allotment plot. The Columbines are doing exceptionally well this year, a sunflower has self-seeded and is proudly stretching heavenwards. The marigolds that had been looking a bit sorry for themselves through the dark days of winter are smiling towards the sun again now with their yellow and orange flowers. Nature knows no such thing as lockdown.