The Pit & The Wasteland

By Bernie Bell

There’s The Pit, and there’s The Wasteland.

The Pit, is when you feel that you’re at the bottom of a deep pit – the sides are high, and trap you.  It’s dark in the pit.  There is sometimes an awareness that you could climb out of The Pit – that someone could let down a ladder to you, or hold up a light, to help you to climb out.  But, you have to climb out, yourself – you have to do it yourself – at least take the first steps.  Others can help, with a ladder or a light – but you need to set about trying to climb out, yourself.

Then there’s The Wasteland. That’s when you feel that you’re somewhere, and you look about you, and it’s all just wasteland – stretching far – flat – featureless – no signs of life – uniform in colour. You don’t know where you are, or what to think.

I don’t know which is worse, The Pit , or The Wasteland.  The Pit is, at least, limited – there is some idea of being able to climb out – you can see the top edges, even if they are far away. With The Wasteland – it’s so far-reaching, so wide, no signs, marks or pointers for which way to go.  I find myself in both these places, and I don’t know which is worse.

With The Pit, there’s a feeling of sinking, of deep down darkness. With The Wasteland – the feeling is of desolation.

And how do I deal with being in those places?  I keep going. I get on with my day, with my life.  I do – I just get on with it, however mundane, or hard, it may be, at the time. I keep going, with a hope, in fact, deep inside, a knowledge, that good things will turn up, which will lift or help to lift, the black cloud under which I go to those places.  Someone will be kind, either to me, or to others. Or, and this may sound trite, I try to see and appreciate what good things there are around me.  I do try to – don’t always succeed too well, but the trying, can shift the cloud a bit, too.  And I don’t mean they have to be earth-shatteringly marvellous things – The Northern Lights, waves crashing at Marwick. I mean, things like, noticing that plants are coming back into life after the winter

The Plants Who Teach Me All I Know

The plants, who teach me all I know,

have shown me it is part of life

to be frozen and formless

in the dark below.


Dying, the thing that we most dread,

each year they readily embrace:

I bow to them, my friends the plants,

who shed their forms with such good grace.


They give themselves to winter’s night,

and then, when all’s completely lost,

from dark and cold they rise again

and strive, strive, strive for the light.


From ‘Soul Gardening’ by Jeremy Naydler

Or, watching tadpoles, or…eating my tea!  Having a shower, for some reason, can clear the mind as well as cleaning the body.  That’s what I do. The main thing is to keep going, even if the good things aren’t there for a bit, or, I should say, even if I’m not able to recognize them, for a bit.

I know I’m going astray, if I look out the window, and have no interest in the garden, or the world out there.  That’s a warning sign, to be aware, pay attention, nip it in the bud, if I can. Try not to slip farther down the slope into The Pit, or wander further along the road to The Wasteland. To be aware, pay attention, take action, do something positive.  If possible, get out into that garden and world, and …walk yourself well.  If possible.  If not – just get on with what needs to be done – the day. Keep going.

And why have I written this? In case it’s of any use or help to others who find themselves in The Pit, The Wasteland, or both!  What works for me, might not work for you, but there again, it might.

If you feel that you’d rather just – not be here. Do – stay. Be here, hold on for a bit, Keep holding on, all the bits will add up to …..a life.  Keep looking about you, and seeing and feeling the good things which are there – they are – or they will be.  They may be small – but they are there.

Last night, I was in The Wasteland.  I didn’t want to be there, I didn’t want to be.  This morning, I’m eating toast and strawberry jam, and it tastes nice.

Spiral by McB

Spiral by Mike Bell

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