Fallen Flower


A splash of color for the day.

They were trimming the hibiscus shrubs beside the gas station. The cast off branches lay on the sidewalk waiting to be picked up so I stooped as I past to pick up one of the flowers. I’ve had hibiscus flowers on my mind lately done I’ve been using them as a symbolic  in some writing I’m working on. In the course of this writing I learned that the hibiscus flower symbolizes both fleeting beauty and, counter-intuitively, abundance, due to the fact that it blooms prodigiously, but the individual blossoms only last about a day. 

So it seemed worthy to pick one up. 

I didn’t spend a lot of time selecting the perfect flower, instead I picked up the first one I laid eyes on. As I continued on, I realized that, in fact, it wasn’t perfect: the petals on one side were truncated and bruised leaving it asymmetrical  black around the edges. For a few steps I considered discarding it- I’d picked it up on a whim: easy come, easy go- I wasn’t obligated to keep it. But the same impulse that told me to pick it up now told me to keep it. Why? I didn’t know. But I’d done it so now I needed to commit to it. The bloom was only going to last for a day. I’d already changed its destiny by plucking it up from the edge of the oblivion that would have waited in the landscaper’s mulch bins. Didn’t we all want to be saved from oblivion and loved for our flaws? Maybe that was the point: to learn to love the fleeting flaws instead of searching for permanent perfection. 

I brought the flower to my office and put it in my pen jar. It wouldn’t last, but it didn’t need to. Over the course of the day I watched it slowly draw its petals in on itself in a gentle decline. It never got any more perfect or any more beautiful- all it got was more seen. Truly, its time on this earth was short and imperfect, but not unnoticed. And isn’t that, after all, all that we want of our own lives?

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on May 8, 2017.

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