by Sonya Lynch
Mr C is a visitor who frequents our garden. The first time he set up in our garden we were horrified. We told everyone we knew. They gave us advice and support which was great. Our lives were put on hold. They all came around and it was all hands-on deck. He was physically removed but damaged lots of our flowers in the process. It was the talk of the town. It stripped us of our privacy, and it was exhausting. It took a long time for us to grow our garden back. It didn’t look exactly the same we put in some different flowers this time and with a lot of nourishment and sunshine it was still beautiful, we learnt a lot about our garden in the process.
The second time he came around I had a feeling he may have returned but told myself I was imagining it. That was until we eventually caught him on camera. There he was snuggled up in the corner of a bush. I couldn’t believe it and was devasted that we would have to go through all that chaos again. I blamed myself – I must have left the gate open, didn’t fence it off enough or mustn’t have been positive enough to think he wouldn’t return. This time we decided to deal with it differently. We weren’t going to put our lives on hold we would work and play around him .We would keep down the drama and only tell people when we knew how to handle him. The professionals came in and gave us the best advice on how to manage him and helped us protect our plants as much as possible in the process. We tried to at least confine him to one part of the garden but he has a mind of his own and good at camouflaging so they had no choice but to decide when and how they would physically remove him. That was the physical challenge, the mental challenge was a very different manage of emotions. Professional guidance was also crucial for that and the most valuable tool we were given was the gift of mindfulness
At times we get angry at Mr C. I’ve shouted abuse at him how dare he invite himself into our garden, but he just walked away from me, so I’ve learnt it didn’t help. We have tried but we can’t change him so the only alternative is to just nod at him or better still to ignore him and get on about our business.
We handle him differently; I talk about him a lot, but my husband only talks about him when necessary – neither of us are right we just work on the balance of somewhere in between. I worry about the damage i hear he has done to other people’s gardens my husband reminds me that the good stories rarely make the news so let’s not worry about that unless we have to.I guess sometimes my biggest obstacle is fear .Mr C himself I’m learning to be ok with .Sometimes I can manage him better on my own he used to squash his face up against the glass in our garden room causing me to jump out of my skin but I have learnt that if I stick my tongue out at him we both laugh and he runs back into the bush.
I could resent him even hate him and refuse to enjoy our garden because he chooses to reside in it but if we did that our children would miss out on the fun they have in it. Thankfully he doesn’t bother anyone when we have friends around. We were given our garden to share. We have lots of parties and there is lots of laughing in it. It is filled with joy and is the happiest place we know.
We didn’t realise it at first but like all baddies he has some good points. He has a strong sense of humour even if a bit black at times. Keeping an eye on him is my work now. At home hanging out, listening and talking more with my gang this is where I’m meant to be. We almost forget about him when we go on holidays and it gives us the break so we can tolerate him better .He doesn’t always give trouble either he likes being part of our family, he sometimes sits back appreciating our garden enjoying the peace and the many birds that come to visit, which encourages us to do the same .
Once again, we will be glad to see the back of him and relish our privacy although I’m sure from now knowing him it is quite possible that he might return. Who knows how it will turn out. I can’t ever see us becoming friends but maybe if he behaves himself for long enough, I may be able to bring myself to shake his hand for all that we have learnt from having him around.
The most valuable lesson he has taught us is that for every changing season we must appreciate our beautiful garden in the here and now.