As many of you know, I've been fighting major illness for a long time, illness which suddenly took a nose-dive this past autumn. This coincided with my finishing two novels in two months, and meant that I started 2018 physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. So I started painting.
Nothing big, just little doodly paintings that I'd work on during lunch or in the evenings. But they sparked something, and I soon found myself painting in every spare moment.
I went back and forth to the hospital for more and more tests, and at home struggled just to perform normal household tasks, like cooking and getting out of chairs. It was around this time that I began craving gardens. I yearned for sunshine, fresh air, and most of all, plants. Some deep and essential part of me needed to be beneath the trees, to feel soft moss under my feet, and see tender bulbs begin to bloom. But with my health the way it was, I could no longer just go for a walk or a hike in the mountains, as I used to. So I decided to bring the outdoors indoors.
Sitting at my desk with my paintbrush in hand, I began to dream of rambling cottage gardens and allotments filled with vegetables and herbs. I dreamed of roses climbing over old stone walls and snowdrops peeking out beds of moss deep in the forest. As we live in a small townhouse, I couldn't have a real garden, but with a little paint and imagination, I could create any garden I dreamed of. Tiny gardens that would fit in, say, a teacup. A cup of hope and sunshine, dainty enough to fit in the smallest of spaces. Being Very Sick, I have a hard time finding hope in great quantities. But through my little gardens, I've found I can create just enough to fill a teacup. So for now, I'll take my optimism one cup-full at a time.