Friday, January 18, 2008

In The Garden

The garden is beautiful, full of orange nasturtiums, pungent sage and unforgiving cactus. It is a garden of complexity, with pathways and mountains ranges. It is possible to scale Mount Kilimanjaro and the Pyrenees in a day. It is a resting spot for birds and a love den for cats. Soldiers are constantly on guard, magicians line the walls and the four elements are worshipped.
The caretakers work when the weather permits, although the garden is never far from thought even in the rain. It is a sacred space in constant need of tending. Weeds are constantly sprouting, apples from neighboring trees need to be picked, and fallen men need straightening. It is a work in progress. At the height of summer, when all the weeds are plucked and the birdbaths are sparkling, everything seems finished. And then, five days later, the weeds come back. The bird food needed replenishing. What is completed one day must be done once again. It is a working garden, and the work is never finished.
Just as soon as one clover patch is plucked, a dandelion sprouts inches away. It is not something to fight, it simply is. The ways of nature continue to progress, unencumbered by human desires. The human machine moves with the same logic. Despite all hopes of peace or rest, the machine is in constant need of tending. Left on its own, invasive species will flourish, well defined pathways will crumble and flowers will be strangled by persistent weeds.
Human habits are as persistent as weeds. As soon as one appears to be under control, another deeper habit comes to the surface. And when that one is contained, another rises. It is nothing to rage at, it’s simply the nature of the machine. In need of constant attention, from minute to minute, it cannot be left alone. It is the work. Continuous, morphing and ever sprouting.

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