Where dandelions grow...

I recently visited a friend who is a fervent gardener. She did have a lovely garden replete with exotic shrubs and plants. The lawn was well manicured and the bushes trimmed to perfection. It seemed not a petal was out of place. I almost touched the plants to see if they were real. However, despite the beauty and perfection I felt something was missing…everything seemed too perfect. Austere even.

During a stroll in this garden, my friend asked “So what do you think”? Always diplomatic, I told her I thought it was absolutely fantastic. “Perfect!” I repeated. She just smiled and we kept walking. It was then that I noticed a small patch of land that seemed unkempt somewhere in the margins of her beautifully landscaped garden. I all but ran towards it.

There were lovely plants in that little garden, however they had not been sheared. There was nothing neat or tidy about this patch. 

The vines snaked with abandon. The bushes were frowzy. There were even weeds growing in there and no one see­med to care about it. It was such a striking contrast to what I had just witnessed. Confused, I asked my friend “What it this?” She sagaciously answered, “This is where I let the dandelions grow.”

I came to understand that our clinically conditioned lives need this patch of land where we are able to let go and let nature take its course. Instead of always pursuing order and control, we could sometimes go with the flow and find imaginative new solutions to live life more dynamically. Alan Dean Foster, the American writer, says, “Freedom is just chaos, with better lighting.”

Sometimes, however, just like the perfectly pruned plants, life can get too restrained, too plastic and this will not allow it to be meaningful and free. For example: Love brings in disorder and to love is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. Love cannot be contained or clipped or fixed. We could avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe and tame it.

But in that casket — safe, restrained, motionless, and airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, and irredeemable. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the confusions and perturbations of love is hell. So yes, love brings in weeds, brings in bedlam, but can you imagine a life without love?

By letting disorder reign in our life sometimes, or by not being disconcerted by it we could discover life’s subtleties and avoid the traps of stereotypes. Beauty lies in surprises, in suspense and in waiting for life to reveal itself organically. We need to live within time and try not to control or manipulate it. We should realise our fractal connectedness to each other as all of us are connected by the chaos that life generates. A good garden may have some weeds. Let them grow. “In chaos, there is fertility” – Anaïs Nin.

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