The writer Austin Kleon shares the story written by Leonard Woolf who wrote the following passage in his memoir ‘Downhill all the way’. Here is the passage:
“I will end…with a little scene that took place in the last months of peace. They were the most terrible months of my life, for, helplessly and hopelessly, one watched the inevitable approach of war. One of the most horrible things at that time was to listen on the wireless to the speeches of Hitler – the savage and insane ravings of a vindictive underdog who suddenly saw himself to be all – powerful. We were in Rodmell during the late summer of 1939, and I used to listen to those ranting, raving speeches. One afternoon I was planting in the orchard under an apple – tree iris reticulata, those lovely violet flowers…Suddenly I heard Virginia’s voice calling me from the sitting room window: “Hitler is making a speech.” I shouted back, “I shan’t come. I’m planting iris and they will be flowering long after he is dead.” Last March, twenty – one years after Hitler committed suicide in the bunker, a few of those violet flowers still flowered under the apple – tree in the orchard.”
I find this passage so moving, especially in light of what is happening in our country today. When we choose to turn our attention away from the ravings and rantings of lunatics towards something lovely and natural and decent instead, we are in effect taking a stand. We are choosing to fill our senses with something worthy and deserving.
If we decide to plant or craft something beautiful instead, we are doing something restorative not only for ourselves but for our children and their children. In this small act of defiance we give ourselves the power of choice.
So today I am paying tribute to the krantz aloes – ‘Aloe Arborescens’. They have started to flower on Mpati Mountain. I am honoring their bright orange torches as they light up the side of the mountain with their generosity. A gift for all to be enjoyed.