“This Fleeting Moment” 6×6, oil on canvas

When I was in highschool, I used to tell people not to get me flowers ever. They don’t do anything I bemoaned. They die so quickly, I argued. 

But I hadn’t started making art yet back then, and I didn’t yet appreciate things without overt practical functions. Color was not yet, to borrow from Monet, “my daylong obsession, joy, and torment.” 

In one of her most famous poems, Mary Oliver writes “doesn’t everything die at last and too soon?” Yes. Everything. Maybe the practical thing flowers do is remind me to pay attention to the transitory, to put myself in the way of fleeting beauty so that awe might take hold.  

I never tell people not to buy my flowers anymore, and I often buy them for myself nearly every time I make a grocery run. I know they will die and too soon. But I also know they assert some sacredness about a space, claiming it in time, asking me to consider its beauty.

 

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Written by Denise Hopkins

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