#27: The Flowers

I love surprises, as long as they’re good surprises, and these flowers were a good one. Coming back from a long day, from a day that I didn’t really want to face that morning, these flowers really added that bit of colour needed in my day. I may have been feeling a lot better about how my day had gone, that I didn’t have to worry quite as much as I had been, but these flowers, a surprise I found sitting on my bedside table, really topped that feeling, highlighted it, and simply made me smile.

There are those cynics in the world who complain: why give someone dead flowers? Why go pick something full of life and give it to someone as a sign of affection? You’ve just killed a plant.

But these aren’t dead (not yet anyway). I was actually given these over a week ago, yet I took this photo today. Give flowers some water and they can last for a pretty decent length of time. Sure, there’s something rather sad when it finally comes to throwing out dead flowers, and it would feel a lot better if they were going onto a compost heap rather than in the bin, but still, they’re alive for now. And they’re making me smile again and again, every time I catch sight of them sitting on the dresser in my room.

So, for me, flowers are a wonderful gift. I always loved the scenes in Howl’s Moving Castle (one of my favourite films) when Howl provides Sophie with access to a meadow, allowing her to open up her own flower shop. There’s just something very simple and romantic about the idea of running a flower shop (or florist, if you want to be fancy), however idealised that thought may be.

And flowers, in the world of tangible objects, hold a whole load of intangible and symbolic meanings. For hundreds of years different types of flowers have been associated with different meanings. They’re a way to send a symbolic message to a loved one without writing the words themselves.

Now, I am no flower expert, and I don’t have the label for these flowers. I think they’re carnations, but I may be wrong. For the purposes of this blog post, I’ll follow that identification.

A quick google, and a whole variety of meanings are abounding. Who knows how reliable the sources are that I’m finding, but it certainly is an interesting read. Carnations have been used for personal events as well as the political, with the specific colour of the flowers furthering the focus of symbolism. Apparently Christian legend has it that pink carnations, which I am assuming is what these are, first appeared on Earth when the Virgin Mary shed tears at Jesus’ plight when carrying the cross, and ‘thus the pink carnation became the symbol of a mother’s undying love’ (thanks to wikipedia for that bit of info). The reliability of this I have not looked into, but it’s a fun bit of folklore to think about.

These flowers, to break the symbolism, are not from my mother, and they are not in my room to symbolise her undying love. They have their own, unique symbolism, their own inspirational message:

Smile.

Things may be hard sometimes, you may find things difficult, but here’s something to make you smile, however simple, and to remind you of the care and comfort that you can always find.

Flowers today may lose some of their traditional symbolism as the folklores are lost, but the thought is still there. The thought to send a message with something beautiful and simple and earthly, something tangible that you can look at and smell and touch, which can share with you and remind you of an emotional and comforting message. Smile, I’m here for you, remember that.

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