I am all for democracy. I support peaceful efforts to achieve it in other parts of the world. I take my right to vote very seriously. That we each have equal rights and are to be treated as such has my wholehearted endorsement. I believe every living creature deserves respect and kindness. Heck, I could be the poster child for democracy. Except in my garden.
It has occurred to me that in the confines of my little garden, democracy does not exist. Autocracy rules. I assume complete authority. It is rather scary how closely my behavior in the garden resembles descriptions of Mussolini , Quaddafi and others. Please tell me I’m not alone in this personality transformation!
Consider these factors and maybe, just maybe, you will recognize yourself:
I happily discriminate amongst the plants. Selecting only certain ones and dismissing others as weak or unimpressive. I’m even known to cruelly put down specific plants.
Plants that do not perform as expected are ruthlessly eliminated.
My vision is the only vision. If a plant attempts to change the design by creeping into forbidden places then off with its head! Barricades are placed to deter just such dissension or defection.
When anybody admires the garden, I take all the credit with no consideration to the contributions of my hardworking botanical subjects.
I aim for absolute control and expect total obedience. Dissenters are not treated well. At all.
Any of the above sound familiar? I was shocked when I realized this about myself. Pushy, bossy, aggressive are traits I have confessed to. But autocratic? Would never have thought myself capable of it. Yet, where is my shame or guilt? I worry that this says something about what each of us is capable of when the right ( okay, wrong) circumstances come along. It bears some close examination.
But then, how else can one create a garden? The very idea of a garden opposes the wild behavior of plants. We attempt to tame nature.In a way, it mimics what humans do to ourselves. We attempt to be civilized instead of giving in to baser tendencies. And it is hard to do without being minded. We’ve even put in place policing agencies. The fact is, without the watchful eyes of others in society many would disregard what is good for the whole and simply do as they please for themselves. Mayhem and murder would ensue. I suppose then, it comes down to how we govern ourselves. Democracy, communism, dictatorship, military rule, monarchy – the world is still working it all out.
So, back to the garden. Looking at the big picture, I no longer feel alarmed about my authoritative influence. I think I’m really a benevolent parent. Strict, demanding the best, willing to express tough love but at the same time guiding the plants to realize their highest potential.
Yes, that’s more like it. I can live with that. It is all in the perspective one chooses to employ. So, what rule exists in your garden – parental, anarchy, democracy, oligarchy or dictatorship?
Take a look at some examples that dare to defy me:
Don’t forget that my garden is open this May 25! Check ‘Happenings’ page for details.
(c) 2013 Shobha Vanchiswar