Last Week’s Flowers

 I bought myself beautiful flowers last week and now they are dying in the vase  on the buffet. Death has not dimmed their  beauty. Their green stalks still soar into the air. The coral flower’s petals are still soft and translucent. Their scent is still an acrid sweetness that once it has entered your nostrils wants to linger a bit to have a chat.

 They are dying nonetheless.

The top of the flower stem stands bold and firm. But, the petals at the very bottom of the stem are tired looking and have started to draw into themselves. There is even one flower stem, near the back and fortunately a bit out of sight, that has even given up and folded over in death altogether.

Their beauty should only exist for another day, two at most. There is no way to express to them how much joy they brought me. Fortunately, however, it is not in proportion to how much sorry their death now occasions.

As I sit and look at the one flower stem in the back which has died so gracefully, I want to rush up and remove it because it offends me. It forces the sight of death on me amidst so much vibrant life. Death, no matter where it is encountered, is always to be decried. Yet, doesn’t that one dead bloom add a statement to and about all the others that still stand so boldly and proud?

I imagine the single dead stem to say, perhaps even shout in a pale, graceful voice, “This is your fate too. I have given you my beauty in life, now, here is my beauty in death. Do you not find me as appealing?”

Who am I to say that a flower’s death is not as beautiful as its life. My immediate desire to remove it from sight causes me guilt. Why can’t I appreciate its dying as much as I gloried in its life? Why does the sight of less life flowing through its petals depress me? Why does the sight of the closed and shrunken petals that hang as useless arms from the dead stem offend? Why is lifelessness ugly to me? It is the sight of death that I want to discard so vigorously?  Where is the beauty is last week’s dying flowers?

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One Response to “Last Week’s Flowers”
  1. Really interesting questions… have you come up with any answers yet?

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