Like a poem or painting made with flowers, Ikenobo’s ikebana expresses both the beauty of flowers and the beauty of longing in our own hearts. –Sen’ei Ikenobo
This quote by our present Headmaster has long resonated deeply for me and, it certainly helps put the title of this blog into perspective. I have, for most of my life, been involved in some form of artistic endeavour, would it be as a professor of literature and its relationship to the visual arts, or with the theater as an actor or director, or again, as the owner of an art gallery representing contemporary Canadian artists. Upon retirement, I diverted my artistic energies into singing and Japanese flower arranging, which have both brought peace and harmony into my life. Hence the title of this blog, Of Flowers, Poetry and Other Essentials. Whatever touches my heart or randomly comes to mind finds a place in these pages.
With some 1500 years of history since the introduction of buddhism into Japan, there is much to say about flower offerings, and eventually flower arranging, and I will write on this subject over a period of time. You could, of course, Google the subject, or alternatively, go directly to Wikipedia. What I will discuss here has obviously been researched, but more importantly, I will share with you my personal experience and views of what ikebana means to me.
Yesterday I wrote that I had just entered my third year of teaching ikebana at the Edmonton Japanese Cultural Association. We had planned to have our Hatsuike, our first meeting and arrangement for the year, on February 5th, and I had gone to the florist to purchase enough material for fifteen students (nothing grows in Edmonton at this time of the year). On that day, we experienced the worst snow storm of the winter. The roads were unsafe and class had to be cancelled. Needless to say, I was pretty disappointed to end up with the flower material for 15 people in my apartment; however, I ended up using the material over the next week by doing lots of practice. The rikka posted above was one of those arrangements. So the Hatsuike took place on the 19th and the next lesson of the season will be this Thursday night. Hopefully, the major snow storms are over for the year but this is Edmonton after all. Pictures of our work and class information are posted on the EJCA Ikebana Club website. This space is used more for reflection.