A Re-Awakening

I was originally planning to use this title for my blog but decided it had been used too often as a title for either a novel, a movie, a music album and even for essays. The concept is, however, still valid. I have been told repeatedly by friends and loved ones that I used to write exciting poetry, that I used to produce delightful flower arrangements, that I used to be passionate about numerous things that were for me what I have above called other essentials. I will not deny any of these remarks, nor will I make any excuses. However, I believe that I am still passionate enough to want to have another go at it. This blog is a first step in the right direction.

Our garden has finally also awakened from a long and unusual winter for the Canadian Okanagan Valley. The crocuses and daffodils have long come and gone. The rose beds, however, are almost a month behind, having barely grown some leaves. With some 75 different types of roses, June should be glorious and colorful. We can rejoice at the view and fragrance of our lilac tree and at the continuous blooming of many of the tulip varieties that adorn our back garden and side meadow, formerly known as the rockery. It has afforded me the opportunity to arrange a Shoka Isshu-ike of tulip. It is a simple and yet formal arrangement using one material only. The beauty of such an arrangement is its naturalness. It allows us to seek the essence of our plant material, to enter into a communion with nature.

I belong to the Ikenobo School of Ikebana. It is the original, the oldest school of Ikebana in Japan, having given birth to this form of flower arrangements more than 500 years ago. Today, there are thousands of Ikebana schools in Japan. I joined a long time ago and worked with the Okanagan group for a number of years before leaving the country for a five year term abroad. During our stay in Switzerland, because of the distance to our nearest teacher, I only attended week long workshops twice. Then I spent another two weeks in workshops at the Ikenobo Headquarters in Kyoto. Since our return home, I participated in a two day workshop in Vancouver with a second one coming this weekend. I will have more to share upon my return next week.

People have often asked me how I got involved in studying Ikebana. I once answered that question on a webpage now unfortunately defunct. I promise to bring the answer back to this blog in the very near future. Until then, I bid you farewell and leave you with this haiku I wrote a few years ago for the UFK birthday calendar.

The first buds appear

I contemplate the shoka

Now coming to life.

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