Opportunities to straighten the straitened present themselves in the most unlikely places.
Reviewing the barricades to the grandchildren’s cubby house in our garden including a ‘paddock’ of stinging nettles, the scale of the problem felt overwhelming.
The nettles covered a magnitude of other garden sins —a topsy-turvy mixture of covered brick pathways, dumped soil, fallen tree branches and tangled vines. As a gardener, I felt stricken for having so neglected it. This was no easy solution for it, certainly not one we could prioritise.
For weeks, it sat like a dead weight in my mind. Then one dawn, without any real deliberation, I donned my gloves, picked up a saw and cut off the fallen branch that would give clearer access to the mess.
Early every morning for months, I pulled out the nettles and weeds and raked the ground flat as I went.
Metre by metre, I straightened what had been straitened. Repurposing timber and bricks, the subsequent landscaping—turf, veggie garden, and paving is, well shall we say, rustic rather than professional.
But it’s given back something of far more depth than the result.
It’s brought together a profound desire to do more work on straightening what is straitened in our business and personal lives, while contributing to doing the same for our compromised planet.
This is a far greater task than it sounds.
Do you think that Straightening the Straitened would be a good title for a book?
It would tell the stories of how people achieve the unachievable, beat the odds, take the harder decisions, develop grit, tenacity, and purpose; and as a result end up leading a fuller life, giving back more to others, while contributing toward solving the problems of our ailing planet.