What crimes were perpetrated upon society, so heinous that such innocent-looking flowers should be locked behind bars?
I ask you.
Are they behind these bars for our protection?
Are they the offspring of legendary Bella Donna? Kin to the deadly sweet-smelling Nerium Oleander? Gang members of Titan Arum, alias the stinky “corpse plant”?
Blessedly, I think, none of the above.
Bars and flowers just go together like, um, tequila bars and tourists.
Show me an unbarred window in San Miguel. And I’ll point out that it is on the third or fourth floor.
They are just a part of our architecture, the way music and oxygen are around to keep us alive. They are neither foreboding nor comforting. They are sometimes aesthetically pleasing. More often, just functional.
The bars are … just there. The bastard accessory to doors and windows.
And if there is a sill between the bars and the window, you very often find a window box of flowers, or cacti, or grasses, or weeds. Flower boxes soften the terrain between steel and granite and glass. They create a visual oasis.
But if bars say “security” and suggest an unsafe and threatening world Out There, then the flowers reassure us that, maybe, the world isn’t all that bad.
Like Mama always said, “A flowerbox behind bars is better than barbed wire. Not even a thief would trample flowers, if he could help it.”
I never could argue with Mama.
Think of flowers behind bars as the equivalent of a daisy poking out of the end of a National Guardsman’s rifle. (Look it up. It happened. Once.)
They serve a better purpose and fate than their cousins who are potted in old watering cans and canary cages and bicycle baskets like domesticated rabbits.
On a sunny day, on the right street, you can imagine the imprisoned flower boxes as mini-parks, little gardens — but just out of our reach.
There to be seen and appreciated in the fleeting moment when we pass by a window — but not picked or sniffed.
Especially the fake ones. Like this one:
Sometimes, I’m tempted to shout, “Free the flowers!” “Open up the prisons and set them free!”
But where would they go? Who would care for them?
Street dogs? I think not. Tree fairies? They have problems of their own in San Miguel these days. Garden gnomes? Laughable.
So, they sit there like colorful domesticated cats. They lounge in the sun and wait for the housemaster to drizzle water all over their feline-like flora.
Have you ever heard a house flower purr?