If the sun is always setting somewhere, it rises elsewhere simultaneously, sustaining both me and you and the flowers we walk amongst. We are not so separate, are we? Yet we keep flowers like souvenirs of sunbursts, miniature fireworks to be given as gifts, as a form of gratitude, for pleasure, as symbols of sorrow, as symbols of hope. Indoors or outdoors, they remain our faithful companions, and like barometers of our well being, they grow tall when we too prosper, and wither when the quotidian demands become far too much. And the flowers? Oh, fear not, for they keep us, too. Imagine all this beauty and if there were not eyes to gaze upon infinite variations of tulips, roses, and chrysanthemums, to write odes to their perseverance, to translate their essence to canvas, to meticulously study and attempt to decipher them, albeit to little avail. And though we try to convince ourselves, through domestication and drying, through propagation and sale, it’s no secret however, that we need them more than they do us.

Knowing that trees could overtake a city within the span of a single lifetime, in a feeble attempt to assert our dominance, we pluck single stems to swish around tabletop vases, seemingly powerless in their singularity. Roots shorn, yet still calling out with pistils and stamens agape to all the buds left behind. Despite wilting with their scarred petals, the others remain strong and faithful soldiers, rising together like an army clad in mismatched yet harmonious Pantone garb ever prepared to take back what has always been rightfully theirs.

Why should one settle for a room of one’s own when a garden of one’s own could push past the edges of the pavement, each blossom historically bonded to the one that preceded it, like the lineages of women’s words passed down through dog eared pages, through song or oral histories, through photographs and paintings, or from mother to daughter. The garden, no matter how small, whether single stem or swath of deciduous forest, is a remedy for the ailments of the past where each sprout transforms trauma through tireless germination, pollination, and growth ad infinitum. Their cycle repeats alongside ours, but what can we learn from them? A walk in the garden is never simply just that. It’s a conversation with the past, mediated by roses, with the present, in which we finally stop and stare at the beauty that surrounds us, and with the future we will flock to, the path lit by all those who bloomed before us.

Vannessa Kowalski, 2022

Bio: Vanessa Kowalski is a Polish-American independent curator, writer, editor, and artist. She received a BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and an MA in Curating, Mediating, and Managing Art from Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland. Her artworks and writing have been featured in publications such as Clog x Artificial Intelligence, Take Shape Mag, Precog Mag, Speed of Resin, Spectra, NO NIIN and more. She currently lives and works in California where she loves making a mess and cleaning it up. www.vanessakowalski.com