Today, I harvested celosia the color of burning coals, and was so surprised by its glowing, chemical redness that my hands lost their rhythm. My mind, flung far out of the task, landed on a thought: why are these flowers going? Not where (a restaurant, a florist, a dining room table), but why?
I imagined the restaurant manager escaping from the usual routine to arrange the celosia into vases by the windows. I remembered a picture that a CSA member sent me of the flowers from her share, arranged in different carefully chosen vases. I thought of the couple, college-age maybe, who passed by my house the other day, right as I was about to get rid of some extra flowers. They bent over the buckets of ammi, basil, and amaranth, smelling the pollen-laden blooms, delighted to take some home.
When I dropped flowers at the florist’s today, she was asking her designer to make a “birthday arrangement.” I wonder whose birthday it was? Someone turning a momentous 90 years old? Or someone turning 1? Then I remembered that last week, my flowers went to someone less than a month old. There in the celosia, it struck me that each person is having such a complicated, emotional life; flowers are like a conduit for whatever those emotions are.
And even as I’m writing this, I feel glad that I’m a flower farmer, if it means participating in the feeling, breathing lives of everyone around me.
I wish you all a very red flower.