I have a brilliant artist friend who Tweeted once ” Sometimes I am rich. But I am never buy-flowers-from-Woolworths-rich”. LOL. And any other artists, romantic, poet, human-with-eyes out there will know about the little soul summersault fresh flowers bring into your life. Sometimes I just shouldn’t but I always find a way to… and anyone living in Cape Town knows that way to always keep flowers, and by default hope, in your life is through the flower market on Adderly Street in town.
Not only are the flowers the most affordable in town, they are also the freshest. I used to walk passed the flower market every day when I was studying on my way to class and I am pretty sure it sure it escalated my dopamine levels by a million tiny baby-breath blooms ( if neurotransmitters were measured in blooms instead of percentages). Even in the cacophonous bustle of inner city chaos, the lane brimming with flowers, drenched in wine-dark light always maintains some sort of serenity. People rushing walk a little slower, groups talking even seem to lower their conversation just the tiniest touch, as if the congregations of lilies would be forever sullied by the whispers of the weekend riots. As if the silken skin would shrivel slightly by each decibel pitch raised. Maybe it has something to do with the perfumed air that lulls around the lane or cooled dampness below the metal overhang, which works its way in some subconscious fashion, to mollify the mind. Even if, for only the brush of a moment.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I am making this all up…
Regardless, the fact still remains that flower market is where you will get your best flowers in (cape) town. You probably know it, I know it, even Woolies knows it- that’s why their HQ is a mere few footsteps from it. So when I had to go flowers shopping this weekend to top that White Chocoloate semi-naked cake with a bundle of fresh blooms, I decided to go straight there. I am also feeling a little prematurely nostalgic about the inner city because I will be moving house at the end of the month. So I roped in my buddy Claudi to go for a Saturday morning stroll through the Company Gardens with me on a mini adventure. The sky was heavy with dark silver clouds and it had been drizzling all morning, but since we couldn’t find an umbrella we just figured a bit of rain wouldn’t be the worst thing. As we headed down Hof street towards the overbearing Mount Nelson entrance, the sky miraculously cleared up and the rest of the walk was if anything, sunny and a little too hot.
In “How Proust Can Change Your Life” Allain de Botton speaks about people returning to Prousts hometown to engage in a small piece of his world.
“It should not be Illiers-Combray that we visit: a genuine homage to Proust would be to look at our world through his eyes, not look at his world through our eyes.”
And so whenever I have the time to, I like to go for walks in my neighborhood … with the eyes of a tourist. So that everything about the familiar streets I see may be a bright and surprising. It is an interesting activity because often I find myself being genuinely surprised by something. This day it was:
-a little market outside Iziko
-the lucky/creepy/cute white squirrel
-bumping into my friend Quaid.
At the market we ummed and ahhed over the variety on display and settled with a delicate feminine mix from Gladys. She threw in a free lilly for me because she her me uttering about them reminding me of my moms. How sweet?
While convenience stores are well.. convenient, sometimes it’s worth taking a little more time to getting what you’re after. Or as de Botton says…
“It might be a Proustian slogan: n’allez pas trop vite. And an advantage of not going by too fast is that the world has a chance of becoming more interesting in the process.”