This past Sunday, during lunch with some friends, one of them mentioned that Ikebana had been a hobby of hers for many years (did she say 20 years? she might have).
That got me to remembering that I have been meaning to experiment with this flower arranging form for some time now, and had even bought, years ago, a container designed for that purpose. Like so many other things that interest me, I never got around to doing anything with Ikebana, other than admiring arrangements wherever I happened to spot them. But the meditative aspect of the practice of Ikebana continued to fascinate me. Ikebana’s use of asymmetry is also appealing. And I am attracted to Ikebana’s resonance with the wabi-sabi notion that that there is beauty and value in anything that is imperfect, incomplete, and impermanent.
Inspired by my friend’s comments, and gifted with my lunch hosts’ invitation to pluck a few Hosta leaves from their garden, I did the plucking and returned home to search out a few other items from my front yard to add to them.
The photo above shows what I came up with.
As the spring progresses, I think I will continue poking around my garden, looking for candidates for additional arrangements. Meanwhile, I’m going to see if I can figure out the perfect spot inside my house to dedicate to future Ikebana experiments.
I first encountered this gorgeous image back in the mid-1990s, in Heron Dance, a wilderness-themed newsletter featuring MacIver’s watercolors paired with quotations he selected from the writings of naturalists and poets. My friend Corky gave me a gift subscription to Heron Dance that he renewed – and that I enjoyed – for many years. MacIver also sold note cards featuring this image, and over the years I bought many boxes of them.
A few years ago, MacIver decided to liquidate his stock of art prints. Having realized that Two Egrets was one of the few images I had continued, over a span of over twenty years, to respond affectionately to every time I saw it, I took a deep breath and decided to buy and frame a copy. I own very few framed prints, but I am so glad that this one hangs on a wall in my bedroom at the cabin in Blue Ridge. For me, MacIver’s image of these two birds evokes complete serenity, and the always-peaceful, restorative cabin is the perfect place for it. I still smile whenever I look at it.
MacIver eventually discontinued Heron Dance, but you can see many of his other watercolors, plus excerpts from the online newsletter successor to Heron Dance, at MacIver’s website.
This is the first installment of an ongoing project to share with others some of the beautiful or startling or humorous images I’ve collected over the years that, for one reason or another, I especially treasure. I plan to briefly explain why I treasure each of these images and/or remind myself how or when they came into my life. For the creators of these images (whenever I’m able to track down their names), the project is my way of thanking them for enriching my life.