IV – The Emperor
So, maybe I’ve let myself go a little. I mean, a lush garden is wonderful, and I love all greenery, but the weeds are all mixed in with the plants, and it’s getting a little unmanageable. Yes, I said it, weeds. Yes, I know I always said there wasn’t such a thing. I know I said all plants were valuable, and that there were no weeds, only wildflowers. But I can kind of see your point — maybe there are some plants that want to strangle the life out of others, and it’s getting a little unbalanced with all these super-dominant plants. Maybe some kind of order would be good.
There’s also the matter of the animals. I love the deer and the rabbits, but they keep eating the plants and defecating all over. So, that’s the first step. I need to build a fence. It pains me to cut down the trees: I hear their screams as my blade whacks into their skin. But I need wood for the wall, and there isn’t enough loose wood around. It needs to be tall enough that the deer can’t jump over. After I cut the trees, I make the wood into boards and construct the fence. Obviously, I need a gate; I don’t want to imprison myself here.
When the fence surrounds the garden, and a gate allows entrance and exit, I know I need to turn my attention to the plants. I’ve been avoiding this. It was once my nature to just want to nourish them all, to just let them grow wild. But now, things have changed. It is overgrown and unruly, from my lack of discipline. While it hurt to cut down the trees, it feels just as wrong, at first, to want to shape these plants into my own image. But once I get started, I begin to find the ways to tame the wildness without oppression. And always I am rewarded, not just by the beauty of the sculpted shapes, but also by the sudden exuberance expressed by the plants. It’s as though they have been waiting for this, for someone to give them shape, purpose, structure.
Maybe they didn’t want to run wild.
When I am done, I have neatly trimmed hedges in exact geometric patterns. I have bursts of color in just the right place. Complimentary colors balancing each other: blue and orange, purple and yellow, and here and there bright red blooms against the dark green leaves. There are paths for walking and fountains for melody and stone benches for resting. Fragrant flowers are far from each other so the different smells don’t intermingle or overpower. Everything has a purpose and reason, and it is beautiful in its symmetry and order. And far from stifling growth through unnatural oppression, this new order has made the garden flourish in a different way than it did before. So, welcome to my garden. May it bring you peace and calm, and a sense of balance and rightness with the world. All is as it should be.