Tomorrow is the biggest flower holiday on the calendar – Valentine’s Day.
As someone who loves flowers, you would think that getting a bouquet on this day would be high on my list of wants. But so much of the expectation of this holiday seems forced.
Of course, the roses are forced. There is nothing natural about millions of roses blooming in February. Most of the roses sold on Valentine’s Day in the U.S. come from South America where they are grown in commercial greenhouses. Whether it is the variety of roses that travel well, or the process of forcing them in a greenhouse, I think roses grown and sold commercially lack the essence of what makes a rose amazing – the fragrance!
The other forced aspect of the holiday is that men are forced to choose flowers, jewelry, candy, and cards to express their love for women. Somehow there isn’t equal cultural pressure for women to express their love for men. All the marketing of the holiday forces people to think that they have to express love in a small set of gift categories.
I am all for deep love that causes flourishing in the soul – love that considers the needs of a person and seeks diligently to find a special way to affirm and encourage the soul of that person. And that may or may not happen on Valentine’s Day. But it can happen on an ordinary day, which is bathed in extraordinary love, perhaps even through a small gesture of care and value. An act that isn’t forced, but is flourishing.
Roses that are not forced have wonderful scents – my favorite is Morden Sunrise which to me smells like a luscious sun-kissed peach. It is a small, unassuming bloom, which smells like summer. Flourishing scent that only happens in the garden, not the greenhouse, not forced but a precious gift at just the right moment of the season. A scent I can only imagine in February, but will smell again in June.