I love flowers. I fantasize about having a big garden where I can just walk out into the yard in the summertime and cut a giant bowl of hydrangea or peonies or daisies–like you always see on the covers of those “Home and Life” style magazines in the grocery store line.
This will never happen to me, of course, because I have a Black Thumb and all those plants would be dead long before they get to the “masses of flowers” stage. For those unfamiliar with Black Thumb, it is a disease for which there is no known cure or vaccine. As opposed to the more widely recognized “Green Thumb,” sufferers of Black Thumb have a natural, God-given knack for killing any and all plant life in their vicinities.
I have this disease. It’s a real thing. You can go ahead and laugh, but I swear to you, I’ve got it. I once killed a cactus. A cactus.
My current roommate loves plants and has them everywhere, but when I moved in, I told her that if she wanted to keep them alive, I was going to have nothing to do with them. I wasn’t going to fertilize them or water them or even touch them. She was going to have to find someone else to take care of them when she went on vacation. (I never touch those plants and, yes, as a consequence they are still alive and well.)
I do have an aloe vera plant that I have managed to keep alive since November. This is a record for me. I feel like it kind of hovers around the brink of death a lot, but I don’t want to do anything other than water it once a week. It might make it worse. I think pretty soon I’m going to have to get it a bigger pot, and I fully intend to go to a garden center and pay them to re-pot it for me. I’m not taking any chances.
Anyway, so when it comes to flowers and having them grace my kitchen table “airily and casually, like they don’t care,” (that’s the kind of thing those magazines always say about flowers,) I have to buy bouquets at the grocery store.
I know that the flower enthusiasts out there just cringed. But orchids and roses and “serious flowers,” the kind you pay for at a florist, are too stuffy for a kitchen–or, in any event, any kitchen that ever gets used as an actual kitchen. When I say this, I mean a place whose events history includes (but is not limited to):
- Someone adding three cups of flour to the cookie batter and turning the standing mixer without realizing the thing is still set on “high.”
- A casserole overflowing all over the bottom of the oven so the whole place is full of smoke and a lot of people are running around like idiots trying to open windows in the middle of January while the smoke detector wails in the background.
- The location of any meal involving a three year old ever.
Orchid would never go in for that sort of thing. Far too disorganized and “bourgeois.” You could just feel them judging you the first time you got halfway through a recipe and realized you were out of a key ingredient.
Nope, a kitchen calls for “cheap” flowers–daisies and daffodils and carnations. These kinds of flowers, in my mind, seem a little more forgiving when I forgot the oven was on and pull out a dozen charred dinner rolls or realize that I turned on my CrockPot on my way out the door that morning but forgot to plug it in. I always feel like these kinds of flowers have been there. Like a floral support group.
So, yesterday at the grocery store, I bought myself a little bouquet on the way to the checkout. I’ve been meaning to for a while, because I just got this little milk pitcher at the Goodwill and was dying to put flowers into it. (I will never use a milk pitcher as such in my life.) So I got my flowers home, hacked off the stems and put them into my new find.
The effect is exactly what I hoped it would be, and it makes me smile every time I look at them. I think that’s why I like flowers. They’re just happy things. They don’t really do much, per se, but God put them in the world to make it beautiful, and I like it that way.
I don’t think we always give beauty its credence in our culture. Things like art and music and flowers only matter if they can be instantly understood and consumed. If a thing takes time to process, appreciate, or enjoy, we skip it. That saddens me. It is part of the reason I intentionally slow down sometimes. I just turn on some music instead of the television. I purposefully leave my phone plugged into the wall in another room. It is important to remember that some of the best things take time.
And so I do my bit to fight against the tide of the instantaneous: I put flowers on my table.