The weather is the kind that feels like a kiss of summer without the fiery heat of noon time in August. The grass is a soft green that almost has a hint of blue and in the sky is enough pristine white cloud to show you how beautiful the sky was, how perfect. The concrete of the path was warm under Lissa’s bare feet and she was glad to be free of the confines of her running shoes. Who needed to run when walking felt so blissful. She stopped and closed her eyes so that she could focus just on sound. There is was, the blackbird song, how could anyone not say that was music? She opened her eyes and let the daylight flood back in, bringing the late April day right back into focus. Then she sat cross legged on the weed filled lawn and looked for the flowers she loved just as much as the roses her grandfather tended with such loving care. It wasn’t that she didn’t appreciate the beauty of a rose, it was that she was equally in love with meadow flowers, with forget-me-nots and buttercups. But being a baby linguist she played with words like they were dolls and tea cups.
She wrote on a piece of paper the words “dandelion,” “daisy,” “forget-me-not” and “clover” and arranged them on the grass on top of their correct plant. The word went with the right plant, that was so kindegarten and now she was ten, what else she wondered was possible. She muddled them up randomly with her eyes closed and opened her eyes again. Only the clover had the right label now and the others were all muddled up. “But what if,” she thought, “ what if everyone agreed that these new labels were correct, then a daisy would be called “dandelion” though it would lack the golden mane of petals, the forget-me-not would be called “daisy” and a dandelion would be called a “forget-me-not.” So do words matter all that much she mused and lay down on the sun-warmed grass, eyes closed to dream.
Without words the world would still exist, without language she would recongnise and love those flowers, so how could words be the most important thing. She could of course write “flower” on four cards and then every label would be correct, but some meaning would be lost, they are flowers, but they are different too. So if she did that they couldn’t be defined properly, yet they are all undeniably flowers. So she emptied her head as best she could and pictured the flowers in her mind with no language at all, like a photograph. They were still the same and her neighbour Mrs Lee had different words for everything, not just flowers! Her definitions would be different too and in pictures not letters. But Mrs Lee knew what a daisy was! So what mattered had to be the concept. From the concept came the definition and lastly came the word. The only thing that could unite the different languages was the concept of the flowers.
Lissa sat up and opened her eyes, gazing at the flowers. It was nice to know their names, nice sing songs and name her dollies after them, but after that she moved more freely in the way she used words and wrote stories. Her tales would never be about what they appeared to be about at first glance, always buried in those playful words would be a concept she treasured. And so her stories were something of a treasure hunt but unlike the pirate tales of old X never marked the spot because she would weave in ideas like a good cook blends spices.
***I wrote this story to explain that if we try to let go of words and look instead for the concept underneath, even people who seem very different at first are really very similar. Words can divide us, but they don't have to, we can use them for unity instead if we try. If we could then discover that the heart and soul of every person who is capable of feeling Love is the same, the "labels" won't matter. We can keep them like Lissa did for the different flowers, but understand that the important part is that they are all flowers, as we are all people.***