Flowers are complex creatures, aren’t they? Aesthetically amazing, they’re not just pretty, but beholden with such perfumed power. Not just a decoration, but dexterous – adaptable, functional, resourceful, multifaceted. For instance, in the 1600’s, tulip bulbs were more valuable than gold in some places. Dandelion leaves are a good source of vitamins and bluebell flowers were used to make glue.
A hydrangea’s color is determined by the acidity of the soil it’s planted in. I raise two children, neither of which I birthed – I often wonder what color they will grow to be. Will they always feel like bad apples, despite everything I do, or will they result in roses – the two are related, after all. How will their adverse childhood experiences shape their older selves? How will their trauma influence their limbs, their love, their lives? Will the feeling of being abandoned anger them always? Will they remember their month-long withdrawals and untreatable tremors? Even with the new soil I’ve planted them in, will they wither and wilt or will they root and rise?
Past peoples burned aster leaves to ward off evil spirits. Angelica was used as a cure for the Bubonic Plague. Adding flowers to baths and ceremonies is thought to break hexes and comfort souls. Some flowers are, of course, medicinal, able to be ingested and work from the inside out. I, for one, believe these things to be true.
Lotus flowers can lie dormant for years during drought and times of terror, but eventually they bloom – in rivers and damp wetlands, the most unlikely of places. If a hydrangea’s soil is too alkaline, the flower will turn pink, so I will be their peat moss, their wood chips, their sawdust. I will plant them in raised beds and control what I can, because to me, they are more valuable than gold. They are my greatest source of joy, and I will be their glue. The reality is, I didn’t pick them, they picked me. They picked me. They picked me. Now watch us bloom.
Sara Fincham lives in Upshur County, WV. She is a certified foster parent and advocate who enjoys rocking chairs, using empty wine bottles as decorations and organized chaos.