As I wander through my neighborhood and community, I have come to understand that our front yard spaces and backyard spaces reflect two very different flora and fauna and perhaps the two opposing sides of ourselves.
“I’ve stayed in the front yard all my life. I want a peek at the back where it’s rough and untended and hungry weed grows.” A Song in the Front Yard by Gwendolyn Brooks
Front yards frame our home, the place we nest, rest, grow, nurture and shelter our authentic selves. The front yard shows people who pass by or come visiting the impression we wish to present of who it is that lives inside. Often it is the well-tended, manicured, weeded, watered, slightly perfected reflection of who we want to represent. Is the front yard then just a landscaped mask hiding the authentic selves that live inside?
The backyard spaces I believe, truly reflect our genuine selves, be they overgrown with weeds and thorns or landscaped with love and tenderness attracting birds, bees, butterflies and critters. Those who also feel that this too might be home in the trees and crevices that mark this sacred space that we keep hidden from view. The backyard may be the space where we allow ourselves to play, childlike and adventurous, creative. Ever wonder why we choose to fence in our backyards. What do we have to hide? Who are we trying to keep in or out? Who do we choose to share this backyard space with besides the other residents of our home. Away from view, do our backyards symbolize our true selves.
If the backyard is indeed a reflection of our true selves, why do we keep it hidden? And why do we spend so much time and energy perfecting the spaces that do not reflect who we are. We may say it is because there is not enough time or resources so we must choose between the two. I ask the question then, what is of more importance in this life than living and exposing the real you and focusing your energy there. Creating the space that nurtures your heart and soul because it is this space that reflects the self people most long to see and share. I am not saying that the front yard should be overrun and untended but, rather that the space that surrounds you should reflect You, both exposed and hidden. In other words, our inner and outer selves should be congruent with self-confident pride and joy.
However you tend the garden of your soul there is always two sides to everything. Create your hidden spaces as reflections of your true authentic self. Invite others in to share who you are. Find the courage in your weeds that continue to grow despite the energy taken to rid them, for they teach us a resilient life. Take time to smell the aroma of the flowers, they are the nectar of your soul. Choose the plant life that reflects your passion for living and the bees and butterflies like people in your life will wander the path of your yard along with you. Thank you for allowing me to visit your backyard. Next time I hope to journey with the real you. Your authentic self. The true reflection of your SOUL.
Photography by Christine Wasnie, “Nature Speaks”