Celebrating impermanence: Chiang Mai flowers

Every February Chiang Mai, Thailand, hosts a lively and colorful Flower Festival. Thai people prepare many amazing floats for the parade, intricately decorated with myriads of live flowers. I remember how seeing this fragrant opulence for the first time was a bit of shock for me. I couldn’t believe that people would put so much effort into something that lasts only a couple days and could never be used again.


In our culture we obsessed with “leaving a mark”, doing something tangible, “investing in our future” or, at least, doing something that looks good on a resume. And here, so much work goes into just arranging flowers, which are impermanent as impermanence itself. It made me thinking…

Let’s face it – everything in our world is impermanent. Every “mark left” will eventually disappear into nothingness. But, surprisingly, when you fully face the impermanence and accept it, including the inevitable passing of this body and character – it starts to make sense.

It is actually amazingly liberating. Makes you want to go and built something complicated and intricate from flowers, or happily write something that will disappear without a trace in the abyss of the Internet.

I enjoy the show every year, just marvel at intricate designs, admire a mix of fragrances in  the hot tropical air and, as a concession to my practical conditioned side, try to “immortalize” what I see by taking a lot of photos!

 

 

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