Last week I walked though the gate at St. Peter’s Community Garden and for a second thought the glass in the greenhouse had been whipped out by the wind again – it hadn’t. We had cleaned the greenhouse only the day before – which had momentarily slipped my morning mind. Glass soaped and rinsed. Insides removed, reorganised, rearranged, and returned. Everything washed down with antibacterial. Finally ready for the year’s new crops. The process was quite painless in all. I had a lot of help from the Tuesday volunteer group which meant we were done by lunchtime.
When I clean – as a rule – I’m grumpy. I’m often reminded of a scene from the film ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ where the protagonist Sophie takes her fury out on the moving castle by cleaning it from top to bottom. Part way through the scene another character – Markl – opens the door to a visitor and warns them that ‘a witch rages within’.
And like Sophie – after I’ve finished – I feel somehow cleaner and happier myself. By soaping and rinsing it’s as if I can look more clearly at the inside of my brain. In the better light I can rearrange the contents, clear out the rubbish, and begin to grow new, healthy thoughts for the future. I suppose there may be points after when I feel I’ve lost something important. Blown away by winter winds. Quickly I realise; all I’ve lost is a grime of non-specific anxiety.