Monday, April 06, 2015

Then and now--a flower essay

Years ago, when I bought my condo in Boston, flowers were a luxury.  My first expenses were always condo payment, car payment, food, gas, electricity. Although I had no credit card debt, each penny was watched as it was dispensed, so when I bought flowers,--a bird of paradise, tulips, some carnations, roses--they were a real treat.

I understood when writer Alice Walker wrote that when she received one of her first checks for her writing she used it to buy lamb chops .  . . and .  . . flowers.  Food for the stomach, food for the soul, so to speak. Flowers add to my soul.

Flowers in Argelès are not that expensive, especially in the marché. They are also given as gifts as the bouquet above from my landlady who shared our Easter dinner yesterday.

Every time I look at these flowers, I see them reaching out for the world. They don't see the vase as limiting. Did they enjoy our conversation yesterday during Easter dinner? Did they laugh at the mafioso in the neighborhood story and the one where the woman was locked on her terrace in only her nighty? Do they listen to the news on the nearby television and wish we would switch from the Russian, English, French and Arabic newsstations more or less?

This bouquet, hand-picked in the countryside by our Swiss neighbors, have extra meaning. I can picture them making their decisions on which to pluck. Their delicateness carries a different kind of beauty.

Flowers as metaphor. Once upon a time there was a yellow iris who lived with purple irises. She didn't mind being different, and the purple irises were tolerant and accepted her without questions. They knew that her yellowness did not diminish their purpleness and she knew their purpleness did nothing to hurt her yelowness. Together they were able to enjoy while enhancing the white sculpture.

Our patio, which is sheltered from the wind and receives lots of sunshine, is blooming with spring flowers. The  bougainvillaea is sprouting leaves and I'm sure is planning pinkish/violet dsiplays by the time we're back from Geneva/US.

I can't believe that we kept this flowering cactus alive for over a year. It has never stopped blooming. We picked it up at the special flower market for mere centimes and it has brought hours and hours of pleasure as we admire its strength.

That I no longer have to save up for flowers is a reward for hard work and aging. That I can splurge on more than one is a joy without losing the appreciation of having beauty in my home is a gift denied to too many.

If I ever forget how lucky I am, will someone, anyone please remind me.

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