What does “scatter” bring to mind? An image of objects thrown about chaotically? Someone being called scatter-brained?
That’s never a good thing.
But look around. The world tends to fall out of order, scattering is everywhere.
And often, the disorder is beautiful.
Wildflowers and grasses scatter across summer fields.
Shadows and reflections scatter over the water’s surface.
Paint peels, leaving old things looking scattered and tattered.
Rocks are scattered over riverbeds, trees topple and scatter through forests and fields.
Petals scatter when they fall to the ground, reminding us how close we are to earth.
Clouds and shadows scatter among the mountain tops.
Maybe even mountains scatter when they’re thrust up over the earth’s crust.
The tumbling horizon that carries our thoughts away may seem orderly, but isn’t it a scattered path?
We try to contain the disorder, but our efforts are only temporarily successful.
Sometimes we invite chaos, we entertain disorder.
Above, a shelter at a public garden with a scattered pattern of colored glass panes, being overtaken by equally scattered vines. Below, a pair of flower part “scatterings” I threw together from bouquet leavings.
No doubt there is satisfaction in ordering one’s world, but the act of scattering, whether it happens in nature, in the built environment or in our minds, brings unexpected relationships forward. That in turn, offers an opportunity to see the world (and maybe the self) differently.
The next time you’re compelled to put your environment in order, taking a minute to find something interesting in the scattered disarray might be worth your while.
From the Cambridge dictionary:
verb to move apart in many directions, or to throw something in different directions:
We grew up in a small town, but now we’re scattered all over the country.
adjective There will be scattered showers throughout the afternoon.