Most people love flowers for their fresh beauty and abundant fragrance. I love that too. I also know that many people question flowers for their short lasting lifespan. Why buy a flower or bouquet if it will wilt and die within days? One can almost picture their cash being tossed into the compost. How terrible! I want to present a different perspective and a potential solution to this “flower problem.”
Have you heard the phrase “Diamonds are forever?” Well, flowers can be forever too. Ironically, you must take away a flower’s life by stripping it of moisture for it to last forever. Once a flower has been dried, whether by being hung upside down or simply taken out of water, its blossom and stem can last forever with minimal upkeep. Dried flowers can symbolize some of your most treasured moments and their presence can bring back positive feelings from long ago. However, in order to preserve that special memory, the reverse needs to occur.
To truly understand the beauty and uniqueness of a dried flower, it’s ‘beauty’ and ‘life’ need to be subtracted from it. For math lovers, it can be written as an equation: flower + time = dried flower; dried flower = memory + time = new beauty and deeper wisdom. For the wordsmiths out there, a dried flower gains its value through the loss of its beauty and the present time that it once represented. When a flower experiences time and age, it loses what it is considered to be beautiful for. It transforms from lush, colored petals to dry shriveled pieces and symbolizes a new kind of beauty, a beauty of wisdom and memories.
Dried flowers offer a new way of thinking about beauty. While the colorful, plump petals of freshly blooming flowers hold a more recognizable form of beauty, another kind of beauty can be found in faded and dried petals. Finding beauty in something that has lost what makes it beautiful can be the purest and most meaningful form of beauty, it comes from somewhere deeper than its mere appearance. It brings a lasting memory of what the flower once was and the beauty that comes with its age and decay.
A dried flower’s form is that of a delicately crafted sculpture. Its striking structure stands out through the negative space that surrounds it. The sculpture or flowers that define this space become examples of perfect imperfection and the negative space becomes a representation of age, loss, and decay which the beauty of time and wisdom can radiate from.
There is a certain wisdom in this imperfection that is a direct result of time, much like the wrinkled face of an old woman or the iconic Parthenon in Greece. The face of a young woman is beautiful in an obvious way: her smooth skin, her rosy cheeks, her shiny hair. However, beauty that holds wisdom only comes with time. With the wrinkles, grey hair, and hollow face of an older woman, comes wisdom. The Parthenon was originally smooth and painted in bright colors, built to look perfect. Only after its weathered walls have lost their color and its columns have decayed, do we appreciate its historical significance. When we are given flowers, we are instantly enamored by their color. But once they have aged and their colors have faded, their petals wrinkled, and their form changed, we tend to lose appreciation for them. What if instead, we connected them to memory and feeling? Those flowers now have wisdom and have a new layer of beauty to them, proving that nothing is ever perfect or permanent. Everything changes, but those things that change can also last forever with the right kind of appreciation.
When our life is made up of many fleeting moments that constantly come and go, how nice is it to look into something beautiful that holds the wisdom and memories of our most precious gifts in life: time and love? A dried flower can symbolize the many fleeting moments of life and remind us of the wisdom and meaning behind them all. Next time you either buy or receive flowers, I encourage you to think of the precious beauty these flowers can hold, even when they have died.