Flowers for giving
The longer I live in the Netherlands, the more I feel at home. Today I took immense pleasure in selecting flowers from a flowershop to thank someone for letting me practise on his pianos.
There are many varieties of cut flowers, reminding me of my London neighbour's fascination with growing exotic flowers on her plot of land. Because I'm usually in a hurry and on a tight budget, getting a bunch of tulips or roses goes without thinking. Today, however, I had plenty of time. And so I thought about the message I wanted to convey: "Remember me? I want you to remember me."
With that in mind, I selected bright sunny flowers in yellow, orange, pink, red, and purple colours. These flowers had no fragrance, but they stuck out boldly.
"What can I add to puff them up?" I asked the lady in the shop. I wanted to make sure it was a happy bouquet and not five lonely stalks of independent flowers. Arranging them with plenty of green leaves and stalks, she was able to "fill up" the bouquet with richness and element.
"What a great job you have," I exclaimed after she showed me her arrangement. "You work in a beautiful environment, surrounded by beauty, and you create beautiful things."
She smiled and replied in perfect English,"Well, there are different flowers at different times of the year."
Dutch people bring flowers when they visit their friends and family. Flowers are sold in shops, open markets, supermarkets, petrol stations, and train stations. They are everywhere.
Today's experience taught me that selecting individual flowers to be arranged is a very rewarding experience, more so than grabbing two dozen roses or receiving a bouquet at the end of a concert. Selecting flowers is like crafting a gift to be remembered and a message to be communicated.
I skipped to the new piano store with my bouquet in hand. Two young men greeted me at the door and said "Sorry, the owner isn't here. We don't know where he is."
"Oh," I said with disappointment. "Could you put this bouquet in a vase?"
All they could find was a white bucket. "Your flowers are beautiful, but the owner isn't a flower person."
"Is that why there are no flowers in this pianowinkel?" I asked. "Or do flowers damage the humidity and temperature balance in the room?"
Never mind my disappointment. I took so much pleasure in crafting and giving this bouquet of flowers that I decided I must do it again. But who will be the lucky one next?
1 May 2004 Saturday