We think of ourselves as on the inside, in what could be called a 21st century version of paradise. Indeed, the word ‘paradise’ comes from the Persian word paradeiza meaning a rectangular walled enclosure. For us, a magical place.
Our walled garden is an attempt at imposing order on the world. We can’t help but do this. We seek pattern, regularity in order to thrive. A garden symbolises our continual struggle of making sense of our lives.
We have become used to living within our own modern paradise. Familiar, it seems somehow ‘ordinary’, and we wonder what is outside, through that door.
We have the option of leaving our secret garden, the delightful innocence of childhood. But once we do that, there is no return. This door is liminal.
There will be times when the door is open and then, when we choose, we move out into the unknown. But much of the time we keep that door shut. We play ‘let’s pretend’ and imagine peeping round the door with idle curiosity.
Crossing the threshold could lead to chaos, a jungle, the dissolution of the known world. We are willing to take that chance. We know that whatever happens, we’ll somehow be able to put the world back together again. But this comes with the guarantee that it and we will never be the same again.
But in making such a journey we take our garden with us. Being our touchstone, our story so far, it enables us to deal with what was unimaginable. And piece by piece our garden grows. We learn to tame novelty with the thrill of excitement and discovery.
Come … Do not look back.
© 2016 Peter Young