I spend a lot of time on Instagram and, like many others, I too have noticed that flowers is a very popular theme. With such a huge inflation in the topic of flower related imagery you would think it would become boring, but I certainly haven't found that and that makes me wonder: what is it that makes flowers so incredibly enticing and charming collaborators?
I came across a wonderful book by Siri Hustvedt a few year ago where she speaks about this power that flower have over us. In her essay she writes:
“When there are flowers in a room my eyes are drawn to them. I feel their presence in a way that I do not feel chairs, sofas, coffee tables, curtains. Their fascination for me must be connected to the fact that they are alive, not dead. The attraction is prereflective- it rises up in my body before any articulated thought. Before I can name the flowers (if I can), before I can tell myself that I am attracted to the blooms, their pleasurable sensation has arrived.”
Maybe, like Siri points out, the fact that flowers are living things connects us to the flowers in a deeper and more primitive way than we even realize. The connection is instant and physical rather than contemplated and rational.
Maybe the presence of flowers conjure up something similar to the sensation you get from looking up at the huge night sky. That sense of wonder and humbleness you get from seeing something that seems so infinite is something that feels overwhelming in a good way. I think flowers have the ability to do the same in a different and more direct way.
“...And I find my encounters with these quickening but senseless plants so absorbing that I do not narrate them. This is odd because I am continually putting words to the living, always forming sentences that accompany me as I greet a person, sit at a dinner party, stroll on the street, but there is no inner voice that follows me in the garden. My head goes silent.”
And maybe that last sentence is where the other part of the magic of flowers lie- we are invited into a state of silence. A state where our constant inner voices and thoughts slow down and quiet for a while.
*Quotes from Siri Hustvedts book Living, Thinking, Looking