I have to admit that I just love Christmas. In my own very pagan way. I love Yule, Saturnalia, Solstice, and all manner of dark and wild winter festivities. I've always felt that, historically, winter holidays had a very dark edge to them. Sort of a "Well, it's freezing cold and we may not make it to spring, but most of us aren't dead yet, so let's party!" kind of thing., Well, imagine my delight when I discovered that the humble Pointsettia could well have been used in Mayan blood sacrifice! Enjoy this little "Eve's Folly" holiday tribute.
This month's Bitter Ex-Florist episode addresses the immortal question: What's more important - How long it lasts or what you do with it? Check out my latest vlog post as I ponder this issue, and stumble into clumsy sexual innuendo over and over again.
Florists are always getting bugged about long-lasting flowers. Sure, people hate to waste money on something that's going to croak in a few days, I get that. But I think flowers aggravate people's sense of their own mortality and ultimate powerlessness in the face of the inescapable cycles of life. That may seem like a lot of burden to put on a tiny little flower, but I swear it's true. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Cut flowers are the ultimate symbol of mortality.
Only once did I meet a young lady that straight-up confessed that she hates cut flowers, because she can't stand watching something so beautiful die. I wanted to both cheer and cry at that sentiment. Hooray for understanding the larger context! Boo-Hoo for not being able to appreciate the beauty anyway.
I think that it's not all about being long-lasting: if you appreciate the beauty of something even for a second, it was worth it. Sadly, in the cut flower industry, the most beautiful flowers are often the most fragile. Don't let that deter you. Give yourself over to the pure pleasure of the experience, however fleeting. *Words to live by.*
I have been contemplating this strange life of mine, and its connection to flowers, plants, and the world of nature. It's true that I have a love-hate relationship with the floral industry. I mean, what do you expect from someone with a Youtube series called "Dear Bitter Ex-Florist"? But the other big truth is that I love, love, love plants. All the astonishing manifestations of flora on this earth: plants, flowers, fruits, vegetables, trees, mosses, lichens, strange things growing under the sea... I love it all.
Remember that sense of wonder the first time you picked an apple from a tree? (OK, if you've never picked an apple from a tree, then you have truly missed out). The overwhelming sharp-sweet smell of the fruit, the musty-earthy smell of the bark and leaves - didn't it seem just a bit magical? Well plants, to me, are like that every day. Every time I meet a new plant or see one doing something particularly plucky, it just thrills me.
I think half the reason I get so frustrated with the floral industry is that it tends to trivialize flowers, and provides no connection to their origin. I genuinely think the world would be a better place if people established a better connection with the natural cycles of plantlife. Plants have a lot to teach us. They are perfect models of growth, death, reproduction, adaptability, perseverance, and renewal.
So, I am officially coming out of the closet as a crazy, plant-loving fool. Join in me in celebrating our friends in the plant world! I'll be tweeting, blogging, and generally blathering about this more soon.
This month's "Bitter Ex-Florist" Episode is about as useless as a fake flower, sorry. And sorry to those of you who just love fake flowers. I think they're nasty. Not to mention totally inedible. But I had to toss up a sort of fake "Interim" episode since I've been way too busy getting The Book out there. "The Book" being Fresh Cut, the full true story of my life as a florist, in all its absurdity and horror. But hopefully you'll get a few chuckles out of this, and of course, buy my book and make me rich. Right?
So, fake flowers - why bother? I know there are times when you just have to use them. On stage in a play, possibly a film. But those things are already in the and of make-believe, so I think that's okay. But in real life? Yuck. Look, I'm not a big fan of cut flowers anyway, but if you're going to have them, at least appreciate their fragility: that peculiar "zombie half-life" as they sit in your vase of water and spend their last few days trying fruitlessly to be pollinated and propagate the species.
Give them some love and attention as they sit dying on your kitchen table, and give reverence to the thoughts of mortality and the ephemeral nature of all life in the universe that they should inspire. If that seems to heavy for something you spent $5 n at the grocery store, too bad. Suck it up. Don't try to avoid the inevitable end by acquiring some cheap simulacrum that can't possibly hope to accurately impersonate the beauty of the real thing.
Oh yeah, and don't try to eat them.
"Eve A. Floriste"
If you're on this website, chances are you already know "All About Eve." Who is really author E.J. Bouinatchova: a writer of the strange, dark, funny, and eclectic, a former florist, and a passionate plant-o-phile.