A flower angel is not the same as a nature spirit, at least not in the universe of this creative mythology. For mythology’s sake, we’ll just say that flower angels are like patron saints, except they were never human. For example, there is St. Phocas – the patron saint of flower and ornamental gardening. Then there is San Bernardo Abad – the patron saint of beekeepers, therefore interested in gardens, especially flowers and vegetables. They are advocates, protectors, and guides for flowers and persons working with flowers. Neither of them are angels, but both have angels attempting to elevate their myth. Flower angels are also advocates for flowers, but they do so independently, without the need for a human to invoke their office.
Flower angels do not feel powerful. “Cheerleaders, you know that’s really all we are.” That was the sound of flower angels pretending to complain, although all we humans would have heard was the wind, if that. The fact is they rather like being cheerleaders, because they are perky by nature. They’re just not always sure for whom they are leading cheers. Relatively speaking, few people listen. And nature spirits don’t usually require their encouragement.
Like saints, flower angels also have names. It was the flower angel Chloris that suggested the Buddha abandon his prepared Dharma talk in favor of the flower sermon. The Buddha listened. This is how Cholris tells it:
The Buddha was running out of breath. He was also running out of things to say, having already said what was most important. So I whispered in his ear, “don’t say anything, just show them what you mean.” For a moment the Buddha was stumped. Then I said, “There’s a reason the flowers are in bloom. They are waiting for your engagement. You are connected to the world.” I had no idea if he heard me; perhaps he only heard the wind. But he got the message. He held up a flower, saying nothing. His disciples must have thought he was playing charades, which hadn’t been invented, because they all started to call out meanings and interpretations. But one of his disciples understood – saying nothing but a smile. People think the message was to be, like a flower in bloom. But the real message was to listen.
“You’ve been telling that story a long time. Don’t you think it’s time we came up with another?” the flower angel Larkspur responded.
“The annual bloom doesn’t make for great storytelling. Wonderfully engaging, but pretty boring as play-by-play.” Chloris put on her announcer’s voice. “Yes, we have snowdrop ready to bloom! Wait for it, they are definitely preparing to bloom.” Chloris changes her voice: “We interrupt this story in search of other breaking news. We will return when the snowdrop have actually bloomed. We just received word that crocuses have begun their annual spring training. It shouldn’t be long now before they begin their regular season.”
Larkspur reflected: “Sometimes spring is wonderfully poetic. And remember the year I negotiated with the frost spirits because the flowers were already in bloom?”
“Yes, you’ve told that story almost as many times as my Buddha story.” Larkspur wanted to argue, because in fact she had told it only half as often. But angels don’t like to argue, especially over trivial details.
“I’ve got an idea. Did you know that particle angels…”
“Are they the ones dancing on the head of a pin?” interrupted Chloris.
“The particle angels whispered thought experiments into the head of Albert Einstein.”
“They were singing and dancing their intentions for centuries, probably on the head of a pin. Getting someone to listen seems to be just this side of impossible.”
“Are you saying that impossibility is on our side of…” Larkspur trailed off. It became apparent that Chloris wasn’t listening, so she started up with a phrase that always got her attention: “And they lived happily ever after.”
“That’s nice,” Chloris said dreamily. Now that she had her attention, Larkspur initiated budding thoughts. “Here’s our chance at a flower themed thought experiment. What if politicians argued like the Buddha, each holding up a single flower, from a bouquet of personal flowers, in order to make their point in a debate? Flowers don’t lie. Only a Buddha would win. That could change the world.”
“We’ll have to practice. You be the moderator, and I’ll play the role of the candidates.”
MODERATOR: So what would your plan to reduce the deficit look like?
CANDIDATE #1: (holds up a daisy while smiling) [candidate #3 is itching to show a sunflower]
MODERATOR: How about your response to that same question candidate #2?
CANDIDATE #2: (holds up a rose, smelling the rose with an exaggerated gesture of hand to flower to air)
CANDIDATE #1: (takes a rose from his bouquet and pricks his finger, showing everyone the blood produced by the thorn)
MODERATOR (whispering to cameraman): Zoom in on the oozing blood, it will make a great visual for the evening news.
“Wait a second,” broke in Cholris. “This isn’t working.”
“You’re right,” agreed Larkspur. “They would be destined to miss the point.”
“Could you see them breeding Venus Flytraps just for debates?”
“How about breeding whole armies of predator flowers just for the sole purpose of demonstrating aggressive intent?”
“Or flowers that gave off disgusting odors and could move their petals to communicate in semaphore.”
“Turning politicians into flower children would be fun, if we could do it. Unfortunately, it breaks with the Prime Directive of evolving consciousness. Besides, a flower alone does not a Buddha make. That’s free will for you.” Angels are just a little jealous of humans when it comes to free will. Angels participate in Divine will. But they do have their own version of free will. Call it angel will.
“Let’s forget about thought experiments and go hang out with some flowers,” said Larkspur. “It’s my turn to encourage the stamens. You get to encourage the pistils.”
“And we’ll both dance on the petals,” added Cholris, already imaging the colors their feet would become. The annual bloom really is a story worth telling. It always makes the evening muse.
Note: image by Angels and Celestials