It began with two damson trees. In the space of eight years these have proliferated to at least fifteen fresh saplings, and there would be even more if I didn’t cut the grass with metronome regularity and weed out others with trowel and spade.
The damson tree knows know better. Its foliage is profuse, cold and heavy under grey skies, a fat, vibrant green when lavished by sun. But always busy above and below.
Every day I say to myself, I have no right to be sad or depressed. Grumpy and melancholic are much finer words so I’ll go with those. And most days I’m not. Recently, however, it’s been harder to shake off a sense of dissatisfaction when taking stock of the day, that moment before the head hits the pillow and sleep. There’s a sense I’ve done nothing, the time filled up with little things. Left to themselves inconsequentialities breed like mice and eat you up.
Some things have to be done – like keeping my blessed damson trees in check – but other things are pointless accretions, like Face book and twitter feeds, emails – even blogs -when all these ‘displacement’ activities conspire and distract you from facing a blank screen and actually writing. The finest moments are being in ‘the zone’ when hours pass and you gradually realise you’ve created something worthwhile – something damson trees do as a matter of course.
Pity the sad bonsai, roots and branches clipped to create something unnaturally small, a practice akin to Chinese foot-binding. In both cases others ‘create’ something from them. And that is the danger of ‘Facebook’ addiction -self inflicted - or allowing others to take too much of your time. Damson trees are boisterous, selfish and productive.