You have seen them, elderly folk walking alone, lips moving in a whispered conversation with themselves. Or the ‘odd’ child on the perimeter of the playground skipping as they chatter under their breath. Crazy people one might say. They very rarely are.
I am one of those who talk. Since I left the playground I have tried to keep the conversations in my head. After I began writing this became harder as the characters demand more vocality! So when alone in the car we chat, my characters and I, and sort out plot holes and emotional outbursts.
As a very small child I was mostly alone, bullied by non acknowledgement rather than blows, I would invent story lines and play them out; as the others thought me strange anyway I didn’t bother much with their thoughts. I also spent a great deal of time chattering to the kittens, having long discussions about all that is a puzzle to a small child. I guess if I had thought people trustworthy I would have had an imaginary friend.
When I did eventually find a friend (friend from forever/editor) the chatting ceased externally and retreated to inside my head.
Except of course if I was alone in the garden.
Was the solitary bee lonely? - I would ask it.
Was the stranded worm scared? I would murmur reassurance to it as I moved it to safety.
Was the dying mouse sad? I would croon good words at it as I held it to its dying breath.
On my own, if I was near a tree I would sit on the ground, leaning against its trunk, and chat to its branches, if I couldn't climb up into them, which was better. A ‘tree hugger’ back in the 40/50s before the term had become common:) I made the mistake of telling someone at primary school.
So I never told them I thought trees must have souls.
I wasn’t entirely stupid:)
Many years later Prince Charles admitted he talked to plants and that they grew better if one did. He was lampooned throughout the land. But I thought he was right. I knew plants liked being talked to.
Since then scientists and gardening experts have been taking the subject seriously and various small scale studies appear to show
a) plants communicate with each other and
b) people talking to them (women's voices appear to be the best”!) does encourage stronger growth.
Well. I always knew I was right:) Charles also.
Of course if we can communicate to plants we get a whole new raft of ethical questions raised, but that is for another day.
My feeling about chatting quietly to the other occupants of my garden is I suppose something along the lines of
Predators are on the whole silent hunters.
Approaching cautiously and with deadly menace.
This huge beast of a person,
emits a chatter of soft sounds,
no menace, no subterfuge,
no deadly intent
all friends, or at least not enemies, together.
Now I’m ageing and people excepts crazy behaviour from us elderly population! I don’t care who hears me talking to my garden. When I
Apologize to the spider whose web I am moving
Redirect a family of snails elsewhere in the garden
Applaud the frog for its song
Chide a lazy/bullying or intransigent plant
Encourage the seedlings
Mourn the dying
Communicate with all my companions out there
I don’t care its my garden:)