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Waking from Hibernation

February 4, 2010
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When I said goodbye to my colleagues three months ago, one of them asked me, “So what are you going to do now? Hibernate?”

“Yup,” I said cheerfully.

I went to the employment agency soon after, told them about my situation – they said, “Horticulturist? You’re not expecting to find anything before spring, are you?”

“Nope,” I said, unconcernedly. After all, how bad could it be?  Time to rest, time to write, time to read, time to knit.

I did all of that. Won NaNoWriMo, knitted socks, a scarf, a sweater, worked on a skirt, gobbled up some books…

But around Christmas, it wasn’t so much fun any more. Money was tight, I was lonely, there were no plants to play with – they didn’t do much in the middle of winter, except for dying.

One night, my brain spat out one of those random quotes it has stored in some hidden corner – a song from my childhood, off one of the tapes of Fredrik Vahle’s children’s songs I grew up listening to – it turns out it is originally a poem by Peter Maiwald, not that I know who that is.

Der Vater ist die Arbeit los. ………………………. Father is out of work.
Der Vater sitzt zu Hause. ………………………….. Father sits at home.
Er repariert das alte Rad. …………………………. He repairs the old bike.
Er repariert die Brause. ……………………………. He repairs the shower.
Er repariert die Küchenuhr. ……………………… He repairs the kitchen clock.
Er repariert die Spüle. ………………………………. He repairs the sink.
Er repariert die Lampenschnur …………………. He repairs the lamp cord
Und auch die Kaffeemühle. ……………………….. And also the coffee grinder.
Der Vater ist die Arbeit los. ………………………..
Father is out of work
Er repariert nicht weiter. ………………………….. He doesn’t go on repairing.
Er lacht nicht mehr. Wer macht uns bloß …… He laughs no more. Just who will
Den Vater wieder heiter? ………………………….. make Father happy again?

This song has been haunting me for the past month. It just described me so well, first the euphoria of having time, and then the slump, the running out of things to do, postponing those I could still do.

I went into true hibernation mode then, sleeping, sleeping, sleeping, more than any person should be able to do.

Leaves!

 

But now, at last… now, the days are lengthening, the sun shining again, even if everything is still buried under snow. My plants and cuttings are showing signs of life, putting out new leaves and roots. Horticulturists and gardeners are wanted again, and I should soon have a job again. Story ideas are growing and connecting, puzzle pieces falling into place – oddly enough, that process was set off by thinking about winter, night and sleep as I walked across a graveyard.

Roots!

I’m writing again, typing up things written back in July, adding new scenes (often struggling, but determined), organizing my thoughts on culture, religion, language.

I’m reading again, tackling the last Christmas gifts in the TBR pile, picking up the Bookcrossing book that I came across yesterday – I wouldn’t normally touch anything that looks so suspiciously like chick lit, but a book is a book, and before some stupid person chucks it into the trash…

I’m still knitting, I picked up an ancient beadwork project again.

And I’m playing with my plants again. Some of that was involuntary, I discovered spider mites that needed to be dealt with – as unpleasant as that was, it certainly shook me out of my apathy. They are calling for more water, I need to start feeding again. And I finally started propagating again.

peeking into the bulb box on the balcony

Oxalis triangularis, three weeks later

I buzzed around the flat two days ago, filling pots, taking cuttings, trying to make room on my small propagation table, scattering dirt all over the floor.  I owe a friend/ex-colleague some Scindapsus pictus and Begonia corallina (at least that’s what I think it is) – I hope she’ll be able to get me some other stuff from the ex-work in return, coleus, Begonia serratipetala, Pilea microphylla (both of which I had – they died over the winter), Chlorophytum orchidastrumAbutilon, perhaps even Tetrastigma voinieriana (I know I don’t have the space, but it’s such a gorgeous plant!). The rest of the cuttings are meant as gifts, for trade or sale – some Portulacaria afra, Aptenia cordifolia and Tradescantia fluminensis – and more will follow soon.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2010 14:18

    Very moving.
    Reminds me of a haunting quote I came across once:
    Arbeitslosigkeit
    Heimatslosigkeit
    Familienlosigkeit

    Can’t remember which author that is ascribed too.

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