Monday, December 10, 2012


Today as I sat at my desk, the sound of the wind drew my attention to the window. Outside, dry, fallen oak leaves tumbled in my yard and in the street. It's an overcast day, and I had that feeling of melancholy that accompanies gloomy days and dead leaves.

In Western movies, the iconic tumbleweed rolling through the center of town indicates emptiness. Perhaps the town is abandoned, or all the people are inside, hiding from the gang of bandits terrorizing the locals.

There's something sad about a bouquet of flowers that's started to wilt and lose its petals. It isn't cheerful and uplifting anymore. Now, it's just depressing. In Great Expectations, Miss Havisham, the jilted bride, spends her life in her wedding attire. Dead flowers adorn her hair and vanity. The image of a bride and her bouquet, both withered and decaying, is the height of Victorian Gothic. It's shocking and immediately conveys Miss Havisham's deranged state of mind.

On the bright side, she can still fit into her wedding dress. 

What is it about deceased plant material that arouses these unsettling feelings? Does it serve as a reminder of our own mortality? Or of the impermanence of beauty? Why is a Western town even made emptier when there's a tumbleweed passing by? Why do dead leaves and wilting flowers seem so sad?

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


  1. This is such a poignant post I think it's left me too melancholy and brooding to think meaningfully. :D Love your words!

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