The Journey of a Pressed Flower

“Each contact with a human being is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it.”
―Anaïs Nin

image by I Must be a Mermaid

Perhaps unknowingly, you plant a small seed of hope or love or dreams in another’s heart, and in the time between reality and dreams come true, it slowly takes root, and is cultivated by the heart and silent soul. It weathers the storms of harsh reality and rainy days, it sprouts while no one is watching.

The tiny seed gives birth someday to a beautiful rose, a sweet briar, that all who pass by her adore and admire. The rose is picked by an innocent child who wishes to give it as a gift to her friend. As it turns out, the rose passes on to a starry-eyed older brother, who in turn presents it to his one true love on a dewey May morning, between words of love and admiration. She is touched by the thought and can sense the journey of the rose, she brings it home and admires it in her room in a vase of glass.

It begins to wilt ever so slightly, as all roses do, and in hopes of preserving its beauty, she presses the rose in between the pages of a photo album. It remains in between photos of her as a youth smiling and tanned, on the seashore and hand in hand with loved ones and friends. On the cover of the album she clumsily embroidered her name and the year, 1978.

Many years go by, and the album is opened from time to time, it’s moved in boxes alongside her yearbook and her husband’s old army barrette. Until one day, her young daughter of only five, opens the album and looks inside. She sees the photos, amazed and enchanted by her own mother’s past life, trying to take in every detail, tracing every faded color and smile, trying to fathom how she came from that young girl’s belly. She turns the pages and something crispy, dry, and delicate falls into her lap, the sweet briar, now no longer pink and dewey, but a light brown and frail as ever, still beautiful though even to her young eyes. The little girl senses she has come upon something sacred, secret, and doesn’t examine it very closely, out of respect for the mysterious object. Yet she understands it was given in love and she places it back in the album, where it remains for years and years to come.

The little girl grows up herself and dreams one night of a sweet briar growing somewhere, someone who will hand it to her, someone who knows that the life of a pressed rose is much more intricate than meets the eye.

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