A few years ago when I started getting into flower arranging there was a part of me that was hesitant to get involved with such a colorful media. Living in New York, how do I reconcile the fact that no flower wears black? I feared that the story flowers told, was limited to the beautiful, joyous and celebratory. However, the more I design, the more I realize that the story of the flower is not always one of beauty. Every flower withers.
The tension of finding joy in the beauty of a thing that will not last resonates with me. Who hasn’t experienced death of a friend or family member and wished it was not part of the human experience? As I place flowers together, re-creating new forms out of living ones, I am reminded that they speak of a re-birth just as they speak of death. Pouring my heart and hands into arrangements which are quickly admired and then tossed away feels like life in all of its glory and harshness.
The fact that death is a part of the reality of flowers allows me to engage in the art of floral design in a way that feels true, like I am not dismissing all the hard things of life in exchange for its celebrations. Because of the truth that flowers tell, I am able to think deeply about the world and confront its dark parts with each arrangement I make. It is evident that the world is in great need of love, kindness and compassion and while at times it feels overwhelming, loving the people around me is where it starts. If I cannot show kindness to my own family, how can I show kindness to the stranger?
Flowers lay down their own beauty to exult that of another and laying one’s life down for a friend, brother or even a stranger is the greatest offering that a human being can give to the world.