One day, journalist Jocelyn de Kwant began sorting and photographing flowers according to the different stages of their life cycle. It’s the most calming thing she’s ever done.
A few years ago, I was in a bad mood even though I was on vacation. I was in Spain and the sun was shining, but I was feeling down and worrying about different stuff. A few bad things were going on, and I was angry with someone. That’s the gloomy mood I was in while sitting in a lush Spanish garden, surrounded by flowers but not really seeing them. They were just background. But then I noticed a wilted blossom hanging in a colorful Lantana bush (interesting fact about the Lantana camara: each blossom is actually a cluster of little flowers). As I continued looking more closely, I noticed more of them. I also saw flower buds that could burst into bloom at any moment. And a cluster in which the flowers had faded into little black berries, probably containing the seeds for the next generation. All the different stages of a flower’s life cycle, cozily hanging out together in one flower bush.
Without really thinking about it, I picked some blossoms and arranged them in the right order, neatly in a row. I took a photo of them and posted it on my Instagram account. This whole process had made me happy; I felt so light and cheerful that I almost forgot how gloomy I’d been feeling when I started.
Long story short: It is on that vacation that I discovered a new hobby. I have continued doing this, arranging flowers according to their life cycle and taking a photograph. Sometimes I stop when I’m on my way somewhere, to pick something that catches my eye: wild roses, jasmine, dandelions. Sometimes I also look them up and learn about them. I marvel at leaves that disguise themselves as flowers, and vice versa, and the names that are so different in each language — and I also learn a lot from the responses to my posts on Instagram.
Really looking at something properly makes me feel so calm. It also reminds me every time of a very simple truth: nothing in life knows only a time of blossoming. The only flowers that bloom forever are made of plastic. In real life, things are constantly budding, blooming and wilting. And it happens all at the same time; these things go hand in hand. In addition to everything that’s ending, there’s always something about to flourish. And each stage is good for something. Nowhere can that be seen as clearly and beautifully as in a flower bush.
- More flowers from Jocelyn can be found at @jocelyndekwant and #jocelynsflowerstages.
- See the full article ‘Every stage is beautiful’ in issue 32.
Text and photography Jocelyn de Kwant
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