st andrews path brigh

I’d often go for a walk or run along the track that runs up the headland above East Sands Beach at St Andrews, Scotland. At the height of summer, the track is hedged in by a wild garden brimming with flowers, foliage, and life. A trained horticulturalist would be hard pressed to cultivate a more delightful plot.

Blackberries, in flower and with berries in various shades of ripening, were interspersed with an array of poppies, rosehip, wild roses, Scotch thistle (I never knew there were so many varieties), gorse in yellow flower, and daisies in various shades of yellow, white, and mauve. Towering above, framing the border, were bright-pink Rosebay Willowherbs. Bracken softened the edges, and little Peter Rabbit’s kept diving in and out through the undergrowth, as bumblebees ranged among the flowers, and sparrows flitted here and there. Scottish rural splendour.

Now imagine this: a walking track above an Australian beach lined with blackberries, Scotch thistle, Gorse, Bracken fern, rabbits, and sparrows. Awful! Nothing but pests the council should earmark for destruction.

Can you see how much context shapes our perceptions and thereby our behaviour? Just because something doesn’t ‘fit’ into my world the way I want it to, doesn’t mean that it is ugly or useless or somehow unworthy of my attention.

There is beauty in every good thing God has created. Even more so, there is beauty, glory, and wonder in every person made in God’s image. We must never write people off, dismiss, or disregard them. Praise God! Scottish weeds, when understood rightly in context, make for a splendidly wild Scottish garden.