To Love a Flower
By Daniel B. Martin
June 15, 2016
The Land of Florafaun
Anthophilous was born and raised in the land of Florafaun. There he lived in his own little house atop his own little hill. Of the hill upon which he placed his house, it was one of the many rolling hills of the meadows which lay between two massive mountain ranges. It had shrubs, shade trees, and space for a kitchen garden. As for the mountain ranges, which are visible from atop his little hill, snow would fall all year in the upcountry regions. It is cold up there, and man has learned that he must make fire to survive. But as the days light breaks upon the mountains, the slopes warm, and some of the snow melts and their waters drip into pools which collect high in the mountains, their overflows form waterfalls that convalesce into the river of life which flows through the small village of Florafaun. The village was full of many flowers and happy people. Life was good.
In the spring, the rains come through their ordinarily peaceful valley, and wash out all the crap that was sticking to the topsoil. As big dark clouds quickly roll in and fill the valley, there is friction created from the large masses become dense upon the ridges of the mountain. A downpour ensues and lightning illuminates the sky as loud bursts of thunder ripple through the valley. It rained for three days and four nights. On the fourth morning, the sun returned. The mountain tops were completely capped in a white headdress. The day was warm and as the water melted and meandered its way down to the valley floor the river of life was only slightly overflowing its banks as it swept away all the crap, cleared the roads, and made way for new life and regeneration.
It was on this day after the rains which Anthophilous had poked his head out of his little house, and made his way down the little hill towards the heart of the little village. His eyes were assaulted by the beauty of the bright green grasses and new growth shooting forth from the soil at his feet. It seemed at first sight as though the grasses were attempting to stretch themselves and reach onwards and up towards the stars. Insects, or fairies, as he referred to them flew about him and the fields and the flowers which lined the rugged dirt pathway from his hill to the village. There were puddles in holes, and mud under shady spots and yet the sun shone warm and bright above. He stopped for a moment in the mud and stared down at a pool of water that had collected next to the fallen log upon which he was now resting.
The water was a light but murky brown, it had a certain softness to the way it reflected the light, it picked up in fuzzy detail the rigid contour of his face. Was he there in the puddle as he saw himself? Or did he exist only in his perception of himself? Was he in the world for the puddle to see him? Or was he more accurately lost somewhere in his own mind? Quite frankly his thoughts were puzzling and left Anthophilous uneasy. What he liked to do at moments like this was to collect flowers. That always made him feel better.
Their bright warm colors brought him joy, and the cooler purples like lavender and dark shades of blue calmed him and made his silly ponderings shrink in importance. What mattered was finding the right flower, at just the right stage of its development so that he might enjoy it the most. This meant that he would spend a great deal of time searching for new and better flower fields, with greater variety and selection of species, and he would have to look even still upon the plants to select the best plants, and even more-so was there an importance placed upon the selecting just the right stem to clip so that he might run home with his samples, excitedly and gleefully placing them in the vase which he kept upon his supper table. It was a small vase, and he needed but one beautiful flower at a time. The flower was what calmed him, and it was what made his life worth living.
The Flowers of the High Mountain
He could not fancy himself living high in the mountains away from the town, its rolling hills, and the banks or the river of life which were always teaming with new growth and blossoming buds. But he knew that there were flowers atop the mountains which could only be found during summer when snow melt was at its highest. He would occasionally make summer trips to camp about the mountains searching for delicate specimens to place about his vase that he might enjoy them before they wither away off into the splendors of past times.
He had over the years picked so many flowers, enjoyed them, and watched each one as it withered away. Some lasted longer than others, some were more beautiful than others, and some had more fantastic aromas than others. Each was unique; each was its own, even when dealing with the same species, no two flowers could ever be quite the same. But with all this grandeur and vastness in variety and selection and quality and genetic expression, how could Anthophilous ever choose but one favorite? This is what all of the other men in the town had done, and their fathers had done, what they all suggested that Anthophilous should do to solve his dilemma.
Because of this tradition, each hill had its own unique flower placed about it. It was only Anthophilous’s hill which had only his farm and garden, his house, he and his love for flowers. How could he then, find one which he could take a perfect cutting of and plant it, and only it, about his house? And as it has been suggested as time would carry on his immense philia for this particular flower would dominate his love for all else- most especially dominating his love for the mountains in the distance and the waters they contribute to the river of life, and for the many hills, and for his hill, and his house about it, and for his farm and the rest of the garden he planted to survive.
The Bulb of Failure
There had been a few times, he thought he had made the correct cuts as was suggested. But there were difficulties involved; sometimes the cutting would die on him before he could return to his garden with it. On some other occasions the rare cuttings had survived the journey home, but never took root so they died. These were the ones which he had more dandily picked and placed about his vase (those which were collected but which died instead of vivaciously prospering). Such was life.
He had had a few close calls as well, situations where he had brought the cutting back, it rooted, lived, he took care of it, but before he could take more cuttings of it, to place about the rest of the property, the plant decided to kill itself. At times like this he found solace in the pursuit, in the rebellion against suppressing his passions. He knew then that he would have nothing to do but continue in his search. In fact, he had long held the inclination that the idea of filling the property and owning a plant like all the other men didn’t seem to be as fulfilling as he had hoped, and in order to not be repetitive in action without successful results he chose instead to do what pleased- him rather than allowing himself to suffer. Anthophilous loved flowers.
Part IV: Alternate to Part III
The Blossoming Bud
He stood up from the log upon which he was sitting and admired the gleam of white shining off the mountain tops. He dusted off his pants and continued his walk along the pathway which ran along the River of Life. He saw a beautiful red bird that stopped on the path in front of him. It was small, and had a certain vibrancy and intensity to its crimson reflectiveness. The man gazed at it for as long as it would sit still, but it flew off as he approached and went ahead of him on his path. He had been walking along the banks for some time now and had already left the boundaries of Florafaun. The river slowly carved its way through the rolling hills as they continued out of the land, and into another land.
The sun was still set about the noon sky so he had plenty of time to continue his voyage for the day and make it back before nightfall. He had crept around a couple of bends by the time he was hit with the visage of a beautiful clear lake. It had no waves lapping about its shore; instead it was filled with a placid serenity rarely found amongst bodies of water. Across the lake it was evident that man had placed it in this precise location intentionally. There was a damn which had been constructed and was limiting the outflow such that the lake was at an equilibrium of in and outflow, remaining at a perfect status of fulfillment. It was lovely, and he could feel the peace of the land upon which he now stood.
In the distance there was a beautiful velvet mesquite forest, he started to wander towards it. There were a number of flowers here at this lake different than any other had had ever seen in Florafaun. Yet even more amazing was the quality of some of those same flowers which he had seen many times in his own neck of the woods. Resting at the base of one of these Mesquite trees as a beautiful red rose- which was at once bright like the vibrant wings of the bird, and at the same time also deep and sincere like his love for flowers. He knew in the moment as he saw the flower upon the beach that this was the flower he needed to make a cutting of, to carefully take it back to his hill so that he could cherish it and put it about his house as all the other men in the village had done. So he took a cutting, carried it back home with a joyous heart, and he planted it. He loved that little flower and only time will tell him what could ever become of it.
Part V: Also an Alternate Ending to Part III
The Grasp of Peril
He stood up from the log upon which he was sitting and admired the gleam of white shining off the mountain tops. He dusted off his pants and continued his walk up the pathway which leads from Florafaun up unto the high mountain peaks, the weather was growing colder but his heart would not allow him to cease his desperate search for the perfect flower. Stride by stride he had spent the better part of the day climbing the mountain. It was cold, wet, and slippery the whole way up.
He came around a bend just some time before the setting of the sun, and he saw in what appeared to be a beam of light streaming down from the heavens the most perfect white Edelweiss flower. He knew it would never survive his journey back with him; it needed this delicate environment to ensure its survival. I should add as well that it was not particularly easy for him to make his way up to it, it had perched itself on the top crevasse of a large bolder where it had collected enough dirt to support the plant. He climbed up the tree next to the bolder and got very close to the top of it, but his grasp could not quite get him close enough to take a clean cut of the flower. He looked below, a big mistake, he could see the slope of hundreds of feet, which lead down more slopes which all together accumulated thousands of feet in elevation.
He stepped a little further out on the limb; he was now in grasp of the flower. He took a deep breath and he reached out his sheers towards the flower. He got a clean angled cut, perfect for keeping it alive. Only as he picked up the flower, it’s extremely small addition of weight to his own body was just enough to surpass the load bearing capacity of the branch upon which he stood. It creaked, he was scared. And then it cracked. He had no time to be scared, he fell, tumbling down the first slope, the edge of which launched him high into the air as he barreled and eventually re-connected in a thumping roll with the next slope. And so he was rolled and flung across and from slope to slope many thousands of feet until he finally ceased descending at the base of the mountain. And it was there where his dead body was found the next morning, and clutched in his hand was the wilted remnants of the flower which he just had to have, because he loved flowers.
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