The meaning of flowers
The meaning of flowers
“Mrs. Dalloway said she’d buy the flowers herself” (Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia
Mrs. Dalloway was throwing a party: everything had to be blooming, absolutely
brimful with overwhelming brightness. Thus, she prepared herself to swim, to
dive into the vastness of the city, ready to “buy the flowers herself”.
Why flowers? Why not delicate chocolates, or small, golden candles, or maybe
colourful decorations made out of glittering fabric?
Lilacs, tulips, carnations, sweet peas, roses, irises, daisies, sunflowers; is
it just for decoration that we seek them so eagerly when trying to embellish
our everyday life? It is as if they carried their own beauty discreetly hidden
inside their tender petals, and waited silently to finally open up and deliver
their lively message wherever they are: birthday parties, hospitals, public
places, crowded streets, cemeteries, restaurants… all of them seem to greet
with endless rapture this blossoming visit.
Which words wait, invisible, behind the fragile-looking corolla of a silky-red
poppy? I believe they truly are words of life, forever-changing and travelling
in the same tides we move in. Maybe that is the reason why we cling to flowers
when trying to put a note of beauty in daily details, because we identify in
them the unique preciousness of something that can never be repeated
throughout History, of something that, imperfect and flawed as it is, speaks a
deep, solid language, and brings us to a state of emotion that we can only
experience when looking closely at a living being, a creature of time and
colour. Flowers depend, like us, on light and water. They raise their petals
to the sun, trusting they will receive the nurture they need, and lower their
heads when no rain touches them. Their beauty is, at the same time, eternal
and ephemeral, and so they have lived on in every possible expression of Art
we have attempted. We have filled them with plenty of symbols, and poured in
them not only concrete feelings but also human values.
Is there any painting that depicts the scene of the Annunciation and does not
have pure, innocent lilies in it? Is there anyone who can conceive an
Andalusian dancer with any flower but a carnation? The immortal Rose speaks
its divine language throughout Poetry; violets keep accompanying the grieving
and the humble with their dark and bright colour. We still ask dandelions
whether or not we are loved, and breathe deeply to catch the sensual, elegant
fragrance of jasmine.
Flowers give light to everything they touch, and transform it into something
that beats, something that moves, but not monotonous- or uniformly, for it is
the colour of its petals and the strength of its form what determines the
effect they have on what they are linked to. Flowers, as any form of life, can
be passionate or just tender, peaceful or tempestuous, strikingly notorious or
merely calming company. They dare to tell what we are not brave enough to say
out loud and speak for us our most inner emotions and feelings, inviting us to
take part in their vast and beautiful net of meaning.
Until we can comprehend the beguiling beauty of a single flower, we are
woefully unable to grasp the meaning and potential of life itself. – Virginia