Flowers, A Dark Beauty

I’ve always been a huge fan of flowers. I mean, I’m a student and I go out of my way to get a fresh bunch every week. Every Sunday, coziness be damned, I set off in search of something beautiful. My general “go-to” place is the Columbia Road Flower Market. But often, even a bunch of roses from a M&S will suffice. Hey, call me easy.

For those that have never been to Columbia Road Flower Market, it’s a short walk from Shoreditch High Street and Hoxton Overground stations. I’m a fan of East London, and walking through the hipster-littered streets of East London always serves up a good dose of man beards, boutique coffee shops, and street art. Like I said, I’m a fan.

This Sunday, I hopped on the Overground and headed off to the flower market. As I left the Hoxton Overground however, I decided to stop in at a little coffee shop next to the station. Exposed brick, succulent plants, organically sourced coffee beans for sale– the place was dripping in hipster, rail-against-Starbucks vibes. It was great.

I ordered a Flat White, my drink of choice when I can’t be bothered to think, and the barista and I got to chatting. He asked me what I was up to for the rest of the day.

Flat White Art.JPG

I replied, “Going to go buy some flowers… and then head home to study.” The usual.

He responded saying, “That’s nice. I always underestimated the beauty of cut-flowers, you know? They’re quite romantic if you think about it.”

I nodded. “Yeah, totally.” But in my head I thought, seriously? You never considered flowers as romantic? 

He went on to explain how the second a flower is cut, it starts dying. We, as humans, try to preserve its life by sticking it in a vase with water and various food plants (my favourite is the packets of “rose food” that you usually get when you buy a bunch). But really, what’s happening is we’re witnessing the slow death of a living thing.

Whoa. Mind. Blown. I, in my 22 years of living, had never thought of it that way. I actually always thought of it on the contrary– flowers have always been symbolic of life in an otherwise sterile environment, especially when living in the city. Concrete jungle– meet your match, these flowers I bought!

But the more I thought about it, the more I thought how right he was. By buying cut flowers, we sign ourselves up to watch the death of a living object. Sure, flowers aren’t sentient (or so we think), but there is a certain dark beauty to it. In theory, flowers “bring life and colour” to our grey, dismal abodes. But really, we watch something die to give ourselves pleasure.

Wow. All I know is, I’ll never look at flowers the same way again.

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