As I was arranging a bunch of flowers tonight, the following passage came to mind:
There was really no point trying to arrange wild flowers. They had tumbled into their own symmetry, and it was certainly true that too even a distribution between the irises and the rose-bay willow-herb ruined the effect. She made some minutes making adjustments in order to achieve a natural chaotic look. While she did so she wondered about going out to Robbie.
These are the thoughts of Cecilia in Atonement, a beautifully written novel – which has also been adapted into a gorgeous film, as you probably know – by Ian McEwan. A novel overflowing with evocative description and vivid characterisation.
As I arranged my flowers I thought of symmetry, life past and future, that which is determined and a man I long to see. I thought of my life. My day. My tomorrow.
Like Cecilia, I have never liked symmetry – except for in a face. It’s far too ordered, predictable and balanced. It’s so balanced it makes me feel…well, unbalanced. If I see something symmetrical I have to fight the strongest urge not to rearrange it. Unless it is a bunch of flowers, then nothing can hold me back!
The flowers fell into a unsettling symmetry before me tonight and as I swiftly rearranged them I wondered at my abhorrence of that which is uniform because, you know, it extends to more than just floral arrangements. I have a terrible feeling that the way I like my flowers indicates some deeper darker truth about who I am, what I think and how I want to live: I think I’m pretty much inherently rebellious. But for now all I want to say is, Cecilia is right: symmetry is for faces not vases. What do you think?
Btw, have you read Atonement?! Every word is soooo very delicious!