As I weave my way round the garden of my workplace, I feel a sense of great attachment, I would even go so far as to say I love it… but it’s not mine. At any moment I could be thrown out of the place, with its crumbling fortifications and ancient Yews, bad gravel paths and cankered orchard. The aristocracy could decide that, actually, that employee who never addresses them by ‘Lord’ and ‘Lady’ can fuck right off! “Fire Her”.
And as I break my back developing a garden at ‘home’ (my rented house), I try not to get attached, because at any moment my landlord could decide, that actually, that fecker who has dug up half my grass and put up a bloody polytunnel can fuck right off! “Evict her”. Or else up the rent because now there is a garden and render me homeless.
So lately, I’ve been acutely aware that I am only barely hanging on to a pleasurable existence by the skin of my teeth. I can make no long term plans, as I have no solid footing to work from. Own SOMETHING or own NOTHING. It looks increasingly likely that I will have to contend with the owning nothing route.
But what to do with your soul? Where do you invest it if every place you dwell is temporary and not yours? How do you leave your mark on the world when you are a pleb on just above minimum wage? What legacy do you leave the future, only words of hope and encouragement that fade after one generation, only one generation remembering or having access to your voice?
So when I’m mingling with the ‘who’s who’ of the locality, as occasionally happens at events, or see my employers kids running about their grounds, it physically hurts. It hurts to know that they will never know struggle or know what it feels like to be one pay check away from homelessness. Indeed, their souls will never know homelessness as they play care-free in a garden created by their fore-fathers.. They have such grounding and there is surely great peace in that.
And there it is. The need for a bit of ground. A physical manifestation of the soul. A place to literally, lay down roots, that your kid can add to, nurture, or choose to rip up and start again, safe in the knowledge that they can not be removed from it…
So where do I fit? Your common gardener? A bit of graffiti in the potting shed? An uncredited tree planting? Or for the 21st Century, a couple of bits of code from some newspaper articles floating about in the ether of a picture of you and your colleagues posing by a new installation. For now, I make do gate-crashing rich people’s land and pretending that it’s mine.