In my old garden, the soil was clay, and I’d have to put all my weight into the garden fork to crack the surface it was an effortful and frankly demoralising task. In my new garden, the soil is really soft and loamy – it is easy to dig and turn over – it takes minimal effort to break the soil up, the plants seem to flourish.

I keep thinking about that clay and how it was so hard to crack – like it was braced for impact and so when the impact came, it shattered.
It made me think of a habit some speakers have of bracing for impact as they begin to speak. You’ll see their chest raise up, their chin lift, their eyes look beyond you and their voice go through or over you rather than reach you. Conversations die before they have time to flourish. You know when this happens their thoughts are running the show, “watch out; they know you are a fraud”.

What would happen if they softened like my new soil? You’d see a softening of the chest, eyes and voice – you would feel like they are talking to you, not at you. Overall you would, conversely, see strength, not softness. Conversations flourish and branch out expansively. Then you know their body and mind are working in tandem – “we’ve got this!”.

Loam or clay today?

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