As a teacher, well actually as human being, I utilize metaphors all the time. I draw analogies and use similes all throughout my days. I have spent a great deal of time as a teacher, and a performer figuring out how others learn. I try to discern what the underlying motivations for action are, and metaphors are this natural leap that I make to help me make sense of things. They help me relate to the world and others.
Metaphors, according to one of my favorite websites EVER (Wikipedia!), “achieve their effects via association, comparison or resemblance.”
It’s the word ‘association’ that makes so much sense to me. Free association: Letting my mind wander and then letting it strike upon the match that ignites my senses.
My mind moves like a dancer among metaphors. As I coach someone or as I am developing a character, images come to mind, metaphors arise, and the dance of conversation begins. People and characters unfold before me in images that then become words and words shift into movement.
I move in metaphor.
It’s a waltz with words that whirls through my brain. I work to craft the images as I experience them. I cultivate them like a garden. If you ever have a chance to see my literal gardens, they are wicked messy in some spots and nicely groomed in others, but they are always fertile. My yard is specially active in the warm weather. The gardens are full of blooms that explode then slowly die. Each plant has a certain livelihood that can be tracked. Year after year certain things crop up like the bleeding hearts and iris and the ever true and spreading hostas. New things creep in like daisies, (the seeds get dropped from birds–which is a fabulous metaphor for shit bringing some sweet surprises.) Some new things are carefully planted. I added some lovely heliotrope and lisianthus this year to add new dashes of color.) Old favorites, like annual mornings and bold zinnias, dazzle me in the autumn, only die forever at the season’s end. Other flowers, like my prized delphiniums get eaten by deer. It may sounds over dramatized but I actually experience a bit of grief when I see they have been beheaded, and I have fleeting thoughts of “those effin’ deer” but unlike some others I know I don’t wish to see them on plate as venison in return for their acts of hunger and or indifference. I also tend to add colors that I favor (purple and blue, and the dreamy, deep indigo of my clematis–the colors of the third eye– lasso my eye every time.)
As I walk about my yard, which my husband tends with me, we sigh. A contented, soft exhalation. The metaphor of our garden reflects back our life together. It’s something outside ourselves to cultivate and care for–some days we weed others we don’t. But we always care. Our yard is for us, it is also on some levels for others, it’s for the passers by, our garden is like the stage where we perform, others get to see it and experience but we strive just to be in it. It’s a chore and it’s choice. It’s a chance to make our lives what we want them to be
We move in metaphor.
In and out of Eden we step, together watching creation unfurl and unfold before us. Even if we were to be cast out of the garden we’d clasp hands and walk out together into the unknown.
That is the metaphor of my commitment to him and his to me, of our monogamy. A funny word that (monogamy), it sounds so clinical and formal, but our garden, our life together is gently tended, and I am grateful for all the beauty and quiet joy it produces for me.
Thank you for gardening with me Jeremy.