"A room is never at its best without flowers. Flowers show that a home is cared for and truly lived in. While furniture can remain the same for years, flowers speak to the present moment. And yet they are a talisman, a reminder of the world beyond our doors, of growth and change, and the passage of time. They are fleeting pleasures." from Bringing Nature Home by Ngoc Minh Ngo.
I don't know much about flower arranging. I mean what is this or that style called? Japanese minimalist? Polly's posies? I don't know. I only know the names of a few flowers and shrubs. I'm likely to describe a licorice plant as that plant with the thick, viney, trailing stems with fuzzy, kinda white-ish leaves. I just put things in vases. I learned by looking through this book that my style is a meadowy look - bouquets of colorful shapes and sizes, crammed together, over-flowing - tumultuous, bountiful. Rather like my cooking that I call Peasant Style; pretty simple and a lot. But there are other ways.
The dictionary reminds me that a talisman is an object thought to have magical powers. This book inspired me to take a walk around our yard looking for magic. What could make simple beauty if I brought it inside? What could I find that was simple, graceful and made from less rather than more. I wonder what you have outside your back door? I stole a single blue hydrangea from Anita's prized shrub. To go with it I clipped some licorice plant stems from overgrown pots. The faint white shades of the leaves put the single blue flower in relief. Three mint blossoms on arching stems gave it a little lift. Their soft, brush-shaped flowers contrasted with the precise hydrangea petals. I pulled an antique water pitcher off the shelf for a vase. I left it here on Anita's bureau.
I was happy with this small way to express joy. At the same time, flowers make me sad because they don't last and I think a lot about this. They drop messy pollen all over the place, their petals shrivel and fall off, and have you ever smelled flower water? It STINKS like dog shit after a few days. I've spent a long time thinking about what it means when Isaiah says "The grass withers, the flower fades," (Is. 40:8) and I know he is talking about us. Human lives. We are so here for a little while, then we are gone. This is distressing. I used to wonder, then, what it meant that when Isaiah finishes the thought with "But the word of our God stands forever." Is that supposed to comfort me? Well, yes. Yes it should. That's because, as so often happens with Scripture, it coheres. It interprets itself. So when Peter writes: "For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, 'All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.' " (I Peter 1:23-25)
So yes, flowers have their fleeting pleasures with reminders of a world beyond our doors and it is no small thing to bring them in and to love their glory. We can, I mean we are allowed, to think of them as we ourselves fade and we are no longer at the peak of our game, as if I ever was, but I have this: this promise, because of Jesus, I am re-born of imperishable seed and one day I shall be restored to a kind of eternal beauty. He will make it so. Really, he will. My faltering steps rest on it.