The daffodils that were drooping outside after the hard frost last week didn’t last long when I brought them into my room. Just a few days. Their already thin yellow petals became quickly even thinner and more translucent – almost like the skin of a very old person. The formerly extended petals curled back in toward the center and lost their liveliness. There was still water in the vase, but the flowers were clearly dead.
I’m not very good at taking out the dead flowers like I should. For one thing, I’m never sure they’re really dead. I always suspect some lingering life. And weren’t they dead when I cut them from the plant? Is it that I appreciate the fading – the slow vanishing of the intimate wetness of life? Or is it more inertia and laziness?
I don’t have a philosophical or aesthetic problem with dead flowers sitting on my desk. Of course, I often don’t have a problem with a pile of clothes on the floor of my room. Something else shiny and bright catches my attention – the next thing blooming buds in the garden – the next project that has me putting things together. I am easily distracted by the quickening of life.
But yesterday, I brought the faded flowers down to the kitchen. And this morning, I took them out to the compost. And I just hung up some random shirts and put some sox in the laundry basket in my closet. Now if I can just sort though the pile of papers on my filing cabinet, I’ll be all set.