Saturday, August 31, 2013

What Stays at the Table Long After

I keep flowers on the table too long. I’d like to be a fresh-flowers-everyday sort of person, but so far in this life I have tended to be a little too haphazard with that kind of detail. The flowers that make it to our table usually mark something: a recital, an illness, a birthday. Even those that are just-because mark something: welcome home; I love you; I thought of you.

So I leave them in their spot of honor. Beyond the point, usually, where I could dry them and keep them forever (and then what do you do with the dust they gather?) I leave them to brown at the edges and drop petals and droop ever-downward. Yes I notice. Yes I might be lazy. But I keep seeing the gift: Congratulations; I hate that you’re sick; I just wanted you to see this bit of cheeriness every day. There’s always a twinge when I finally decide to take action, petals dropping madly as I carry the vase away from the dining room table. It’s so hard to let go.

Can I pretend that, in the spirit of a Dutch still-life, I am allowing the transitory nature of life to sit with us at the table while we eat? Welcoming the fact that all of it is all the more precious because it’s only for a time?


I keep seeing the flowers in the moment I received them. It’s a moment I don’t want to lose, and even as I hold on, I am reminded of how quickly things pass. Even so, the gift remains.

A seed, maybe, and fertile ground.

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