Fading Flowers

I love flowers.

But if you were to ask me the reason why, I would not be able to tell you.

The first book I’ve ever owned was ‘The Little Prince.’
I did not retain many memories from my childhood, but I do remember very vividly how I met a little prince one day on a sunny, summer afternoon.

I suppose my habit of wandering around alone started when I was a child.
At the time, it was still the norm for children to be alone on the streets without adult supervision.

I remember the bright sunshine on my skin and the rustle of the leaves in the wind. The breeze was always something that comforted me. Like a gentle reminder that you’re not alone in this seemingly endless world.

The neighbourhood I grew up in was a quiet one filled with semi-detached homes and magnificent trees on each lawn.
There were a few homes with gardens filled with all different types of colourful flowers and fragrant shrubs.
Looking at them made me envious but happy at the same time.

I was no stranger to the street I lived on.
So one day when a curious cardboard box magically appeared on the sidewalk, I had to go take a look.
It was filled with many old books.
I carefully sifted through them but nothing caught my attention.
Most of them were thick novels which were much too wordy for my short attention span at the time.
And I was getting bored from the lack of pictures!
How can books not have pictures?!

Just as I was getting exasperated,
I noticed a thin little book that I’d almost missed in the sea of bigger books.
I took it out of the box and there was a picture of a little boy standing on a space rock.
Or is it the moon? I was not sure.
But it was enough for me to open the book and flip through the pages.
It had some pictures. Not a whole lot. And they were not coloured in.
But a book with some pictures was better than no book at all.
And so I took The Little Prince home with me.

I must have read it a million times over the years.
Each time I notice something new and profound.
But what struck me the most about the book, I’ve come to notice, was the character of the rose.
And how the Little Prince came to regret his decision of leaving his home and beloved rose behind.
The means he took to go back to her.
Because ‘you become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.’

Two years ago, I wandered into a used vinyl and Japanese art shop.
Yes, I found the combination strange as well.
I looked around and though everything was beautiful, there was only one painting which caught my attention.
I stared at it for a seemingly long time.
Perhaps so long, that the shopkeeper came over and started introducing the wall scroll to me.
‘It is a painting of the Camellia flower waiting patiently for the distant butterfly to arrive.’
‘Oh. It’s beautiful.’ was all I could manage to say.

Although the butterfly is in the distance, the Camellia continues to bloom and flourish.
Year after year.

My front lawn has always annoyed me.
My father loved being outside and tending to the grass and plants.
He would disappear on a Sunday morning and come home with a new shrub or a flower.
I assume because he grew up in a small farming village, that he only knew how to plant things in a straight line.
And hence the source of my annoyance.
Aesthetically, my front lawn drives me up the wall.
Each time I walk into my home, there would be a cloud of vexation which followed me inside.
Without fail.

And countless times, I’ve wanted to hire a landscaper to come and redo our front lawn.
But my mother for some reason has always loved and protected it.
Claiming it is beautiful.
And I scoffed at her every time.

Last week I was in the mood for some fresh flowers in my room.
That very morning, my mother had asked me to take some pictures of her beside one of our flower trees.
Because of her request, I started to notice the beauty of the individual members who lived on my lawn, rather than the aesthetic appeal of the whole lawn collectively.
I decided to cut some flowers.

Initially I was hesitant.
Because who was I to cut short the life of another living thing?
Does this flower wish for me to take it away from its friends and into a foreign isolated environment?
Much like the caged bird?

However, my desire for a fragrant room outweighed my moral guilt.
And so it is done.
And I am momentarily happy.
And I admire the blossoms on my desk for a couple of days.
Until the petals start wilting.
And I am forced to return the dying flowers to the dirt of which they came from.

I noticed yesterday that the blooms on my trees were all collectively starting to wilt.
Is the beauty of a flower any less if it goes unnoticed?
Is the life of a flower not sad?
She who blooms so radiantly and yet is not appreciated or admired.

I decided then,
that the flower would rather be loved and die a premature death.
Than live an invisible and meaningless existence.

Plus, they’ll bounce back next year anyways.

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