Day of Sad Excesses   2 comments

Several years ago I was doing a site investigation in a site used as a homeless camp. The field work started on February 15. When I pulled up to the dead end street that we used to access the site that morning, the street and the sidewalk were covered with large piles of roses and carnations. It was baffling at first. I think it was my subcontractor that pointed out that they were the discarded leftovers from the street corner flower vendors on Valentine’s Day. At the end of the day the remaining stock has zero value for the sellers, and they dump it on the way home. I wish I had had a camera on that morning because it was such a striking image. Imagine a typical dead end into a vacant field, with the normal debris and weeds, and piles of beautiful looking long stem flowers. Since they had been dumped at night, and I arrived shortly after dawn in the morning, they still looked perfectly fresh. It took all of my discipline to not pick up a bunch off the street and put them in my car to take home. In the afternoon when most of them looked a bit wilty it seemed like they made an even more stark image with the fading beauty in the trashy setting.

That image has stuck with me for five or so years (I don’t remember exactly what year this job was). To me the image is a sad symbol of excess. I’ve never been a Valentine’s Day hater; in fact I used to love the day as a day for celebrating friendships of all types. But after that year, Valentine’s Day took on a darker side for me. Now I look around and I see excessive consumption, not necessarily celebrations of love. Love is such a beautiful thing and should absolutely be celebrated with things of beauty; but I don’t ever want to forget  that in order for me to get that one perfect flower or whatever, there are several that go to waste to provide me that choice. Knowing that changes the choice considerably.

Posted February 13, 2011 by mayakey in conscious living, musings, resource use, unshopping

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2 responses to “Day of Sad Excesses

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  1. And a very Happy Valentine’s Day to those who take in and care for the other holiday rejects: unwanted puppies and kittens that are bred and sold specifically for the holidays, with the rejects dumped along the side of the road. There’s a special place in heaven for you caretakers of those unwanted four-legged friends.

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