Daisy Day is a frontal assault. On a couple of fronts.
Wait, you don’t know what Daisy Day is? Oh yeah. Friday night, I placed an order for a hundred stems of flowers. A hundred flowers blooming. White, red, pink, and yellow daisies. Then Monday, I picked them up, and gave them away. (Ok, if you want to be precise, I kept five stems, which brightened my apartment for two weeks.) Gave them to people in church, filled a couple of vases, handed them to budding statisticians, made a couple displays in Eckhart and Ryerson, and the computer lab, even offered them to my students.
Why November 1st? A convergence of several events. First, 1 November is All Saints Day, a Catholic holy day. We celebrate the day of all people in heaven, all our role models. Thus the many colors. Second, on the University calendar, it was Monday of sixth week. In the winter quarter, there’s this weird day, officially labeled Undergraduate Winter Break. Just one day, and only for undergrads. No support, or kindness, or activities. Unofficially, it’s called Suicide Prevention Day. I decided that every quarter needed something. The weather assisted in mood-setting, with a cold November rain.
- Why daisies? Daisies traditionally represent peace, hope, and innocence. I greater favor peace and tranquility, show alarming innocence in a lot of matters, and need as many reminders of hope as possible. Plus, I can draw them. They’re my flower.
- What’s the obvious front? An attack on dreariness. The environment where I work is very colorless. Literally, most of the buildings are grey. Flowers are reminders of spring in a place of perpetual winter. I heard the most accurate description of my university recently: Mordor Tech. Tolkien took great care to make Mordor ugly and other parts pretty. While that’s not uniform – look at the nastiness of many beautiful people – appearance does matter. Whatever I can do to improve the physical appearance helps everyone, and helps me.
- What about people? Daisy Day is also an attack on indifference. A few years ago, I heard of the Hyde Park greeting. The Hyde Park greeting is where you see someone you sort of know, but instead of a word or wave or even head nod, you turn your head down and to the side to avoid any contact. It’s not unique to this neighborhood, but far more common here. People even recognize this, by chalking announcements on the ground. This is unacceptable anywhere, let alone a campus full of 18-29 year olds without commitment that should explore. Giving out stuff increases interaction, and so that’s great.
- Why you, personally? An attack on despair. As I continue to reorder and recover from my latest bout of depression, I realized that I should do nice things. Not because that’s how I’m tolerated, but because my natural personality is sweet and nice. It’s potentially habitual; by doing nice actions, and getting good thoughts, I encourage the development of those in other times.
- Anything else? Charity and Statement. Charity demands no less than actual concern for those who I talk to and pray for. That means conversation, questioning, and support. But occasionally it needs a signal, too. It’s a signal of my attitude, in pink and white and yellow and red.
So, did it work? I think so. People were cheerier; the campus was prettier; I was happier. It’s not something I can do or afford every day, but it made a difference. And that’s wonderful. Not many of these musings end with truly happy endings, so hey! Let’s make note of it.