I succeeded at marigolds today, leggy tumbles of them bought from the florist a classmate recommended. My apartment is fairly stark: two black desks, blond bed frame and kitchen table, a solid gray couch, white bookshelves. I keep bringing home blue accessories from Goodwill: a blue teapot, a blue vase, a blue jar for my tea. The towels are blue, the bathmat is blue, the winter duvet for the down comforter is blue, the first set of sheets was blue. The apartment cries for an interruption–an eruption–of complements, reds, mauves, yellows, oranges. And so marigolds, the color of saffron and sunsets, all the things that are holy and sanctified amid the dust of the world and are still a bit of the dust itself, offering garlands and monks’ robes and housing developments’ flower gardens. Crayons, chalks thick as yogurt, mangos and oranges sweeter than the satiety they bring.
The scent of marigolds filled the three rooms so quickly. A color so warm and a smell so cool and composed. A smell for the ending of summer; it’s early summer, the smell of marigolds, warm at first glance and cool later on.
It’s something to feel like a success, at marigolds or the laundry or a project or a word or a moment. It’s something to put the flowers in vases and spread them around, the little bowl on the altar, one on the temporary coffee table, one on the kitchen table. There are so many things that are always falling off the edge of my flat world, sailing clear off the edge and falling away into whatever chasm exists beyond the edge of a flat world; I don’t know. Deadlines come and I miss them, projects loom and I founder in them, work washes over me in an unceasing tide, sometimes in and sometimes out but never slackening over the long haul. So it’s something to succeed at marigolds, not even despite all the things that will not see success but simply because success is so rarely understood as the fact of doing a thing. Success?–there’s some of it out there that comes dosed out by a measurable standard and I would like some of it very much, I always have–but there is also this unmeasurable thing that smells like raspberries, or fresh-brewed tea, or cumin and coriander, or marigolds, or wet dirt, that complements whatever was already there by being something other than what was already there, by being itself, by filling three rooms unexpectedly, and without design.