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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Recently I ran across an article in Flower Magazine about Bella Meyer, owner of Fleurs Bella in NYC and the granddaughter of artist, Marc Chagall, which got me thinking for days. Meyer, a.k.a. the Flower Vigilante, is on a personal mission to add a bit of color and laughter to a city often smirk and impersonal. Having just visited New York City over the holidays, I can appreciate her mission wholeheartedly.

When I visit the city I almost always stick to the subways for transportation. I like to mingle in the local scenes. I like to stare out of the corner of my eye at the off-duty officers or nanny's traveling from here to there. Their faces are tired and strong. And most often they look like they need a hug (or a day off.) In a strange way it's a welcomed relief from all the tourism and camera snapping happening above ground.

On cold, rainy and especially less-than-perfect city days, Meyer and her team rally together and hit the streets armed with bouquets, arrangements and single cut stems to hand out to passersby and commuters. There really is no catch. The flowers are free and come with a smile. Although they are often perceived with a weary eye, they assure their recipients that the flowers are simple gestures of kindness and nothing more.

As well as passing out flowers in crowded subway stations and on corners to city workers cleaning the streets, Meyer and her entourage have been known to leave flowers inside pay phones, on littered sidewalks or on building ledges. "I like the idea of someone finding a flower or an arrangement where they least expect it," Meyer has said. I am incredibly inspired by Meyer and her courage to step outside the social norm to give a much needed smile to random strangers, just because she can. As an artist myself I can understand her desire to share her work with those who may not have the opportunity otherwise.

Even though I wasn't fortunate enough to run into one of her creations during my visit, I couldn't stop thinking about what a positive message Meyer is sending out to the public. Everyone should be able to appreciate the art and wonder of a gorgeous flower. They are a marvel and vital part of our very existence. To hold a flower is to hold life and love. By passing out Random Acts of Kindness to the unsuspecting, Meyer makes a moment in someones ordinary day, a life long memory...the day they received something very beautiful from an unknown person for no good reason at all. Which is a very good reason indeed, if you ask me.

(Photos Bella Meyer from Flower Magazine, Winter 2009)

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