The flowers I arranged for an altar last weekend are kind of a mess today because they are just about to go. The glads are exploding in bloom to their very tips but, lower on the stalks, which are finding it harder to stay upright, the first blooms have already shriveled and dropped. The sunflower petals, crisp and smooth a few days ago, are twisting and falling. The goldenrod is dusted with its own pollen and drooping at the tips.
I love these flowers because they have lasted beyond the fresh beauty of their youth, because they have become frowsy and blowsy. They have pushed their life to the limits. I love them because they will bloom until they can’t any more. I love them because they are mortal. Do you see where I am going with this?
I hate artificial flowers with a passion. Artificial flowers imitate the beauty of living flowers at their peak but they contain no death. They are false. They are not even art. Notice, when van Gogh immortalized sunflowers, he paid homage to their death as well as their life. Just look at the dance of those shriveling petals.
These flowers are like me, at age 70, their last few days the equivalent to the coming last decades of my life. In relative terms, I, too, am just about to go. I am a bit of a mess, getting frowsy and blowsy. But we women of a certain age aspire to bloom to the very tips of our drooping stalks, scattering pollen and petals extravagantly along the way.