Flowers and Men

CHAPTER 3 - FLOWERS AND MEN

 

A long time ago, when we were still hunters, gathering in caves, we sought to embellish that which we loved and cared for. We desired to harmonize with our surroundings in a way that suited us. This effort to embellish would grow and establish itself firmly in our psyche. But in order to decorate, we needed inspiration. Today, it is all around us. Generations of synthetic art has left us with an abundance of ideas, but then, over 30,000 years ago, men had only one essential muse…

Nature was the only canvas and in it certain elements of creation stuck out to us. We marveled to view the towering mountains or stood awestruck by the thunderous herds of buffalo. But in every case we would continue to look to nature for revelation. Our awe for creation would inspire us to yield our own masterpieces.   And inside its almost limitless variety of form and concept, one peculiar aspect of the triumphant landscape stands apart.

Flowers don’t stampede. They aren’t intimidating. Instead, flowers are easy to approach and docile to admire. Part of nature not essential for survival, flowers can be harvested. Without threat to our survival, without sacrificing the peace of our primitive dwelling, we could fulfill our desire to decorate in one sweeping grasp. We have been drawn to flowers by their mere beauty. They undoubtedly covered vast portions of the landscape. Their seasonal emergence and delicate presence would alert us to the ever changing environment around us.

But when death intruded, we found another use for flowers beyond mere decoration. When emotion left us speechless, when the loss of a loved one was just too hard to bear, flowers stood for words, when our only expression was a guttural moan. Evidence this is found in human graves millennia before the earliest known record. This young and emerging expression served us in a critical time of need. As we came to use flowers as metaphors of emotion, our relationship to these transient creatures of nature began - the legacy of flowers and men.

 

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