Sanskrit’s Flowers



Sanskrit’s flowers. Photo by Joshua Wood

In the Sanskrit office, there’s a vase full of wilted flowers. Josh, the Editor-in-Chief of Sanskrit Literary-Arts Magazine, says that they’re “drying nicely”. The idea of keeping something around because you like the way they’re slowly succumbing to the pressures of air, time, and biology -dying, essentially- horrified me at first. And sitting here, staring at the pale thing, I still can’t see why it’s here for us to look at.

The vase is a translucent violet color so you can see the silhouetted stems sprawling into it, in all directions, as if grasping for water. It looks like water hasn’t graced the vase for a long, long time. Sorry, stems. That’s life. You’re on your own.

The leaves are as dry as the stems must be, an exhausted shade of olive, crinkled and brittle to the touch. I didn’t want to touch the poor plant, but I felt I had to, just to be accurate in my assessment. The flower petals, once possibly a vibrant white, are now the same color as what I’d expect a nauseous sheet of paper with early jaundice would look like. Except tinted around the edges with a copper color the exact shade and shape of small, dried bloodstains. You know the type of bloodstains: You get a paper cut on the edge of a sheet from your sketching or story notebook, but the concept on the paper is one that you actually have hope in, so you don’t rip the sheet out and throw it in the trash. You’ve literally given blood, sweat, and tears for your craft. Maybe more tears than you’d like to admit.

Which reminds me- among the pitiful masses of material in the vase, there’s a part that you don’t want someone else to throw in the trash (while you watch with a mix of guilt, apprehension, and the desire to stay where you are so you can make sure they throw it away). If you look very closely at the wilting flowers, in the very center of each one, there’s a little bud of blue. The buds are still dry, and in the plant version of the fetal position, but they’re a bold blue that holds its own. It shouts, in a gasp just barely audible,

“I’m here! I’m tiny and fragile, shrunken by air, time, and life, but I’m here!”

Some buds look like tiny, balled fists of autumn sky. Others like arthritic finger-petals reaching for the crevices in the ceiling light. And others are just there. But they’re there, and they haven’t given up. They’ll never give up. And that’s what matters.

I’m glad that Josh keeps the flowers here.

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