“What a desolate place would be a world without flowers. It would be a face without a smile; a feast without a welcome. Are not flowers the stars of the earth? Are not our stars the flowers of heaven?”
– Clara L. Balfour
I’ve been browsing through flower quotes, searching for some to accompany wildflower photos from Spring Mill that I wanted to share with you. I’ve noticed that the majority of words spoken about flowers are really metaphors for us. They direct our attention to an aspect of the flower in order to understand our souls better. All aspects of human life are wrapped up in the language of the flowers. From time immemorial, physical love has been intrinsically described in flowers – the object of love is often called a flower in great poems and songs, we tend love like flowers in a garden, and of course, giving flowers to our beloved is an ancient practice.
We use the flower to describe growth in our hearts – opening like a bud, cultivating a sweet aroma, spreading joy and beauty – these references to flowers underscore our desire to live like they do. Many quotes focus on the dual nature of rose and thorn as a metaphor for our world. Good and bad, beauty and harshness, joy and pain coexist uneasily in our existence. We don’t know how to come to terms with a world in light and shadow, but flowers echo the path of graceful acceptance. They show us that beauty can thrive anywhere, even in a thornbed, and we call them roses. Whether consciously or subconsciously we build our lives on the hope that our suffering and pain will produce flowers of the soul.
The beautiful but ephemeral nature of flowers is a poignant reminder of our own mortality, even while it whispers of eternal life. We watch flowers being born and fading away and understand they mirror our own fate; but we also know that even as the spent petals wither, new ones are being formed in the heart of the plant. We know the dropped petals are not the end of the story. And so we mark birth and death with flowers as a reminder of both the brevity of our days on earth and the immortality of our souls. And we continue to take comfort that we can read the story of our lives in the faces of the flowers.
“Observe this dew-drenched rose of Tyrian gardens
A rose today. But you will ask in vain
Tomorrow what it is; and yesterday
It was the dust, the sunshine, and the rains.”
– Christina Rosetti
Blessings to you,