While watching with pals the Pope bless the world by focusing on a cross believed to have ended a plaque in 1525 (like re-booting the Roseanne TV show, this seemed a good time to see if lightning could be placed in a bottle twice) I noticed the lush ferns. I also noticed the absence of flowers and asked my pals why.
Sometimes I’m amazed to have gone through a prolonged Catholic education, all the way through graduate school, and have learned so little about Catholicism that would really come in handy here in a Catholic country. Namely, like baptisms and weddings, there aren’t to be flowers on the altar during Lent (the forty days prior to Easter). Simply put, there’s nothing worth celebrating with flowers prior to the Resurrection.
Immediately I thought what a lousy time of year to be a local flower farmer that provided arrangements for such festive events. Then I realized that’s not correct. For years I volunteer taught dance in nearby Escobedo and many students were farmers. On nice days of the year, like now, we’d have classes and parties in their fields and this is chamomile season. Fields of the daisy like flower spread to be used for Easter events here in San Miguel like Lord of the Column, Mary’s altars, Good Friday and alike.
It’s not like you can tell a plant to keep it in their pants and bloom next year instead. There’s no market for those flowers this year ruining the economics of many flower farmers and not just here.
India, another country that has a huge flower economy for local temples, is also is in the dumps. The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, that produce many of the bouquets featured in Canadian and US grocery stores, is having to mass destroy the inventory of blooms that have no place to go.
Sidebar: Never place your bouquets next to apples like many grocery stores do. The aroma of apples kills a flower much quicker than non-exposure to a Granny Smith would.
Flower-laden funerals has also taken a hit as Italy, the US and alike have forbidden large gatherings, like a funeral. Upcoming Mother’s Day will likely not feature flowers as florists are considered non-essential.
Even if where the flowers grow is not a virus hot house, like Kenya, there are no flights to markets in the countries they are sold in. Having grown in Chocolatetown USA I learned early on in life, chocolate, like flowers, is only good in small doses. Once you’ve had enough you simply can’t give either away.
Flowers have always been special to our churches and temples. Even when not in season, Inquisition-era art was created from local silver to represent flowers on altars called palmatorias. To not have Easter, nor Easter-time flowers featuring yellow and white as the light of the Resurrection, has far flung effects.
The biggest proponent to flowers is featured in nearly every church’s art, St. Theresa of the Little Flower. St. Theresa, in a nutshell, was born, entered a convent at 15 and died a slow death of tuberculosis by 24. What made her memorable was her posthumously published autobiography making her one of the greatest theologians of the late 1800s.
St. Theresa described herself as a wildflower in God’s garden. As a wildflower, she toiled close to the ground blooming only there, easy to overlook. Others were the elegant roses or majestic sunflowers that not only grew tall but followed the sun across the sky daily. Accomplishments a wildflower could never achieve.
However, one can’t have a garden simply featuring roses, or sunflowers. That’s not pretty and God’s garden is gorgeous featuring all types of flowers. So do what you enjoy daily, no matter how small it may seem to you, it is your contribution to God’s beautiful garden.
It’s even been a hard week for Hollywood flowers as movie star, Doris Day’s, belongings come up for auction this week. Few may bid, in this economy, on her floral frocks and other movie paraphernalia from her hit film Please Don’t Eat the Daises.
I feel her pain, well, if after death she even cares about her former costumes. Shortly before the virus became local news I released the latest in the San Miguel de Allende Secrets book series called Coming Home – Blooming Here featuring the Otomi-made Maria doll gamboling up the flower garden to her home. Upon release it shot up to number one for Mexican Travel and Traditions, but like actual flowers, it may have to wither on the vine for a bit. Books, like flowers, aren’t all that important in a crisis.
In the meantime, I’ll keep working with Amazon to release my books for free, or at least at cost, so folks have a quarantine distraction they’ll hopefully enjoy while smelling some of the abundant local flora!
by Joseph Toone
- TripAdvisor’s top tour guide in San Miguel de Allende with History and Culture Walking Tours and Joseph Toone Tours.
- Amazon’s best selling author of the San Miguel de Allende’s Secrets book series on history, holidays, tours and living in San Miguel.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed hereby are those of the author and not necessarily those of the San Miguel Times.