Weeds and Wildflowers

August 13, 2011
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2nd period dragged on slowly. I tried to reign in my gaze, but my mind and eyes kept wandering out the window where the view seemed to get greener everyday- a constant, and growing reminder that summer was upon us. It wasn’t here yet, so I still had chemistry to learn, but my thoughts seemed to have little concern for the equation being scribbled onto the board. It would be nice if I had a better view- this classroom looked out onto the school’s side lot that was reserved for an environmental sanctuary aimed at reforestation- a fancy name for not being able to use the land. The weeds were overgrown, a dumpster from the recent demolition was to the side of the lot, and the grass could probably reach my waist. It wasn’t the ideal scenic view. I would much prefer a sunset or a rolling meadow. But when faced with the choice between the acid-base neutralization equation that sprawled never-endingly across the board or this misunderstood piece of free land, the dumpster and weeds won my imagination over instantly.

In fact, I hadn’t ever really looked at what was out there. On a closer look I suddenly saw wildflowers sprouting up through the weeds. I noticed how vibrant the green leaves were. I craned my neck in order to see the back of the untamed lot and realized there was a stream back there. I really had never looked closely at any of this!

That side lot was a lot like my life. There’s a lot more to me than what one expects the first time they meet me. While I hope that people don’t meet me and think of dumpsters and weeds, I believe that they still have much more to discover just like I discovered the beauty in this land when I took the time to look closer. I have my weeds. I have my hidden stream. There are wildflowers and four leaf clovers there too. While I look at hard times and ask why bad things happen, I have come to realize that the beauty of life is in the whole picture. Flowers aren’t an uncommon sight, but the wildflowers out the window struck me with joy when I saw them. Good things in our lives would only be normal things if we had no bad times to contrast them with. The beauty of life comes from the good times that grow strong, blossoming, and beautiful until they rise above the weeds.

The screech of my chemistry teacher’s chalk on the board sent chills through my body and brought me back to the stark reality of the subject matter in front of me. I replaced my thoughts of wildflowers with the problems she asked us to do on our worksheet. After I finished I looked down at the meticulous formulas and procedures I had followed to get one neat, little answer. I thought about how easily I chose weeds over an equation. Maybe my mind was groggy from a late night of studying, being that it was still early in the morning, but this bizarre comparison seemed to say a lot about me. Some people may be equations and formulas. I would rather be weeds and wildflowers.

Chaos, bustle, and a free spirited approach are the ingredients to my living of life to the fullest. Organization, order, and neatness- qualities most would deem as stabilizing- throw me off, pull me down and frustrate me. I prefer splatter paint to a smooth stroke. I consider coloring inside the lines boring. If you tell me to do something one way, I’ll do it another. My planner is more of a doodle journal than a record of what needs to be done. I find that schedules impede my best work. And if you looked into my room you would probably think that I didn’t believe in the use of drawers. I would love to see you try to write an equation for my life.

Sometimes I myself question how I get things done. I do fairly well in school and teachers have applauded me on my timeliness and “organization”. I know that this compliment would be quickly retracted if they opened my locker- that is, if they had time to retract the compliment before being crushed by the avalanche of books, sweatshirts, mismatched socks, and who-knows-what. Its not even a matter of havig enough time-which due to the chaotic life I tend to lead I never seem to have enough of- but I like it like that. I can find things and muddle through the explosion with ease and speed. It just doesn’t make sense to me why I would spend my time stacking my books in a neat, squared-off pile when a quick toss into the locker gets the job done. This lack of organization and love for spontaneity goes beyond my locker. There are enough things to stress about other than making sure everything is in its place. Sometimes, it’s being in the wrong place at the right time that leads you to moments you never would have discovered otherwise.

I may not believe in living life by equations, but to some people, the sporadic growth of weeds and wildflowers in one’s life makes them want to but on some gardening gloves and manicure their side lot. While I will never be able to grasp their organizational skills and need for order, the world needs a balance of equations and wildflowers. My mom is my equation that balances me out.

A school skirt on the ground. My mom exasperatedly will ask me why I can’t take two extra seconds to put it away when the ground is obviously not where it belongs. I look at it and think: that may not be where it belongs but its doing no harm where it is so why not let it be? Tomorrow morning the seconds I forewent in undressing will be gained when instead of having to open a drawer I can just reach down from my bed.

A Friday morning. My mom wants to know my plans for the night. Its Friday, I have got to have some idea what I plan to do after school, right? Absolutely not. Where’s the fun in that? My logic is the reverse- why would I want plans when I have lived the past five days under the pressures of my block schedule and the ringing of the school bell. She asks me for my equations. I hand her back dandelions.

We manage to get along and balance each other out despite our differences. The world needs just as many people as her as it needs those like me. The balance between the two spirits is what makes our world function fluidly. A kid’s coloring book has thick, dark black lines that are instructions in themselves. But a coloring book is useless without a box of crayons to scribble color in, on, around, and on top of these black lines. Its neither the crayon box nor the coloring book that will hang on the refrigerator. It’s the collaboration of the two that produce the masterpiece.

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