Last week, a framed version of this print from a 1960’s painting entitled, “Flower Child” came into the little vintage shop where I work. I noticed her hanging on the wall the minute I came in for my first shift of the week. It was her expression that got me, that slightly raised eyebrow. What was she thinking?
But this 1960’s image is not the reason for this post, although the subject of flowers is.
Thursday was an amazingly serendipitous day for me. It started with 3 young adults coming into the shop. A male and 2 females. I used my go-to line, “So what brings you downtown today?” to get a conversation started.
The male was the first to reply saying that he, and one of the girls, was visiting from Ontario. The other girl, their friend, had recently moved out to Vancouver Island with her brother.
After I welcomed them, I turned to the recent transplant and asked, How are you liking Nanaimo (my city) and Vancouver Island so far?
She said she liked living here so far but even more so, now that she had gotten a job. She continued that it wasn’t what she wanted to do for work but that didn’t matter, any job was a good thing.
Well, being the curious sort that I am, I had to ask, “What would you like to be working at then?
She looked at me for a second, then replied in a voice full of vulnerability, “I’d like to work with flowers.”
Now in that moment, with her heart open and her dream exposed, I could have done 1 of 2 things. I could have scoffed, or made light of her answer, or I could offer words of support for her deepest desire.
Her face told me in that instant that she was fully prepared for the first one. But that’s not how I operate.
Perhaps she had experienced the sting of disapproval in the past. Perhaps she herself, at some level, did not believe that it was a worthy dream.
I am wise enough to know that flowers can evoke powerful emotions. They can speak of love, they can offer condolence, they can conjure up a memory and they can make you smile.
Flowers feed the soul.
The Victorian’s used flowers as a language. Know as floriography, each flower was given a meaning that could be used as a coded message. A single red rose for, “I love you” to a “refusal of your affection” with a striped carnation.
Flowers may be delicate and beautiful, but they are a serious business.
So I replied with enthusiasm and acceptance which in turn, brought a smile beam across her face.
Then, because she said she had no prior experience with flowers, I offered up a few places for her to check out locally. Places that she may not have known about or thought of as opportunities to access floral knowledge and skills.
I bantered with these friendly folk for several minutes as they gathered up the treasures they would purchase. I even sang a little song when the young lady from Ontario placed a pair of roller skates on the counter.
“I got a brand new pair of roller skates. You got a brand new key.”
It seemed, they didn’t know the song. The awkward silence being the clue.
But I kept watch as this real flower child browsed around the store. I could tell that my support for her dream had affected her.
So when we finished up the sales and the group was about to leave, I thanked them for coming in and wished her friends, safe travels home. But to her, I looked right in her eyes and kindly said, “Please come and visit me again.”
She knew, just as I knew, that something magical had transpired between us. Bewilderment and a hint of confusion flashed across her face. Like she needed to think some more on what had just happened. Then, as if she had made up her mind, she looked with sureness back into my eyes and said, “I will.” She followed it up with a brilliant smile and left, along with her friends.
Maybe her guardian angel was working through me that morning. Maybe I was meant as a signpost for her – Yes! You are going in the right direction. Don’t give up on your dream.
Whether she intuited the message or not, I feel sure that this newly arrived flower child, felt something of significance, at the soul level, from our shared encounter – and I am honoured to have been that conduit.
As for the framed print of the other flower child? It sold later that day to another lady who had just moved to Nanaimo. This time from Saskatchewan. She was my second adventitious encounter of the day.
But that, perhaps, is a story for another time.