My dad taught me something like the above quote from Osho: Dad was an orchid fanatic, and he used to drag us around the Adelaide Hills and say, “The only thing you should leave in the bush is footprints, and the only think you should take out is photographs.” Dad would like Osho if he knew that he has this to say about flowers.
But aside from what i learnt from Dad, this quote reminds me of something i feel about romantic love: when i meet someone who i feel an intimate connection with, a woman or a man, i also feel a strong compulsion to just enjoy our communion at the time and leave it at that.
Most often (and most often with women), i ignore this compulsion to pursue a romantic relationship,
which is the equivalent of seeing an orchid in the Adelaide Hills and PICKING IT: by picking it, you immediately uproot it from the environment in which it grew to be beautiful, and what do you do with it then, once you’ve picked it?
You take it into your environment, away from the environment in which the orchid grew to be beautiful.
If you’ve ever tried to re-pot an orchid you found in the wild, you will understand how futile this is. The poor thing is bound to die—they are such delicate organisms, as are each of us.
So what this quote affirms in me is the feeling that pursuing romantic love is the equivalent of uprooting an orchid and trying to re-pot it in our backyard—we take that beautiful being and we try to implant it into our lives and, thereby, everything we found beautiful about it dies.
This is obviously a drastically pessimistic view of romantic love, but it’s how i feel about it. Our backyards are environments that are cultivated to be natural, but which are not natural, by virtue of their having been cultivated.
What does this mean for love? For romantic love it means we need to be done with it, and stop trying to keep our beloveds to ourselves. We need to start accepting that we met these people for the simple reason that they are beautiful and that thereby they have enriched our lives, as seeing an orchid in the wild enriches our lives.
Orchids in their natural environment are so fucking rare—Dad used to drag us around those Hills and i don’t recall ever actually seeing one.
Finding love in our natural environment is equally rare. And if we understand that pulling that divine orchid out of the ground and taking it home is bound to end in tears, then maybe we can start to understand that the same applies to meeting a beautiful woman and trying to bring her home, when obviously her home is the environment in which you found her.
So leave her to be in that environment, and come back as often as you can to admire her beauty, but don’t be pulling that beauty up and trying to put it in your pocket. Just admire it and move on—there’s so much beauty everywhere that you needn’t acquire the beauty of one orchid or a woman. Just keep on walking and keep your eyes open for the next delectable thing that you will see, and don’t pick that up either. Just leave it be—admire it, but don’t get caught up in owning it.