Beauty In The Wildness

When facing chronic illness, so many things fall by the wayside.

The once perfectly manicured garden grows wild and the chain link fence rusts away to nothing. The scarlet cannas spread like wildfire and the footpath pavers crumble.

And yet, there is a beauty in the wildness. There is charm in the disrepair. There is something about the untameable brambles that inspires unbridled caprice.

So often people say that the key to a good life is to “just be yourself,” but what does that even mean?

Are we color-coded cottage gardens, devoid of weeds and overgrowth? Or are we miles of thorny blackberries, interspersed with a variety of wildflowers? Can our personalities be confined by a white picket fence? Or do our psyches run free toward the mountains and the sea all at once?

For years, I maintained a picture-perfect garden. My beliefs, interests, and hobbies aligned closely with those I associated with. My days were arranged just so. The garden of my life was my pride and my joy.

But then, my garden staff quit and I ran out of fertilizer. I couldn’t afford to repaint my fence and my knees hurt too much to pluck out the weeds. The beautiful garden fell into disarray and everything looked wrong.

However, after years of letting nature take the reigns, I noticed that the garden had taken on a new sense of order. The reds and yellows no longer congregated where I directed, but instead where the sun cast her gaze. The unruly weeds filled in the open spaces, living hand-in-hand with the wildflowers. The weathered wood took on a homey and inviting appearance.

In letting go and allowing dereliction, a new form of beauty has taken shape in my life. There is a breathtaking beauty in the wildness. And there is an inexplicable elegance in simply letting things be.

16 thoughts on “Beauty In The Wildness

  1. Thanks, Carla. I recently retired and had planned to have the best garden ever. My health prevented that. As I look forward to next summer, uncertain what I’ll be capable of, I will try to remember to find the beauty in the dereliction.

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  2. Maybe it’s the mom in me, maybe it’s having walked a somewhat similar path, or maybe it’s having been around for the last few months of your journey… I’m not sure which, but your posts of late have filled my heart with happiness, Erin. Your writing is exquisite, but knowing where you’ve come from makes it even more meaningful. And this post is yet another example of that. Keep shining brightly, friend! 🤍

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    1. Aww, Kendra! I love hearing that. Sending you the biggest hug! ❤️❤️❤️ In many ways, I feel like I’ve been locked in a basement for years and have just stepped out to stretch my legs, feel the sun on my skin, and the breeze in my hair for the first time. Nothing has changed–and yet everything has changed. Life was dull and blunted, expectations were dismally low, and moments of joy were few and far between. Now, life is vibrant and my heart is brimming over with gratitude… yet there is still this whisper of hesitation, not knowing if this period of recovery will last and not wanting to overexert myself. It’s a really interesting experience for me, so I’m happy I have this loving and supportive space in which I can dive in, divulge, and try to find meaning in it all. I’m truly so happy to be here, and so grateful our paths crossed. 💕

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  3. People are intentionally “re-wilding” their properties and farms because it is actually better for the environment than all the sprays and chemicals used to keep a manicured lawn tamed! Good for you!

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