I hesitate over the Hollyhock seeds,
a gift from an unwelcome visitor,
plucked from her coastal garden.
She wished to cultivate friendship
but this is not a land for expectations.
Some days there is too much sky
and the earth shrinks in subservience.
The northerlies and easterlies razor
high hopes to humble proportions.
I prepare soil sheltered by fencing
and umbrella bamboo, fronds scorched
by storm. I shake the Hollyhock seeds
into my palm. Alien, irregular. I sprinkle
and mark the spot with a scallop shell.
Three years on, September, I return
from hospital having almost missed
first bloom; bold and sizzling
cerise in a land that favours the small.
If I had my life to live over I’m not sure I would do anything differently. Life is a journey, a series of crossroads, roundabouts and T junctions without any signposts to guide the way. At each intersection we must make a choice. Our decisions are based on limited information. Emotions, intuition and experience colour our judgement and we choose what we think best at the time. We evaluate, we take a risk or not. Whatever path we take there will be highs, lows and plateaus but the journey will not necessarily be better, just different.
The truth is life is unknowable. Crystal balls and tea leaves will not help. Surrender to your journey wherever it will take you for it is uniquely yours, your own fascinating story. Enjoy the highs, learn from the lows, rest during the plateaus. There are no good or bad journeys, only what was meant to be.