"In May of last year, three months into the first lockdown, my younger brother died suddenly. He died in my home country of Zimbabwe and I was here without him, my sister, or my mother. I sat alone on the couch in my living room and watched him get buried through a Facebook live stream. I was left feeling drained, broken and without a sense of control. The sharp knife of a short life.
Bucolic is a word I first heard my brother use and it has always stuck with me. He was a writer and just like our father he spoke about taking time to write surrounded by nature. Perhaps that is why after he was gone, I spent as much time as I could surrounded by trees and grass, seeking some form of communion with him. He was my best friend.
Nature is healing and I truly believe that spending time in green spaces grounds us. It allows us to breathe and take pause, something necessary in a world that can often leave us feeling out of control. It allows us to reflect on how fast we are moving, reminding us to slow down if only for a second. The body is not a machine, and neither is the mind; and being surrounded by green space reminds us of this.
Trees take the time they need to grow. It is a gradual process but once you notice the growth you cannot unsee it. I believe this to be true about people too. Whether it is self growth, or our mental or emotional health, once we begin to see improvements it is impossible for us to not recognize how far we have come.
Now that I am living in Merton with my aunt, I have made her garden my project. I am going to take the time to make it into something beautiful that will bring her joy and peace, which in turn will give me a little peace. And I encourage others to find comfort in green spaces too; because if you ask me, we all deserve a little peace after the year we have had."
Sustainable Merton Community Champion