Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Paradise

Last Friday when I talked to my teacher, Sumi sensei, on the phone to arrange the class time, I sensed great excitement from her voice, “I have some very special materials.” She told me.

Saturday after I left pottery studio, I rushed to ikebana studio. I ran into sensei in front of the door when she was on her way to lunch with her friends.

“Take a look at my arrangement, then take it down and arrange on your own. I will check yours when I get back from the lunch.” She instructed me.

When I saw her arrangement (picture above), I was stunned. It was very dramatic with the giant bird paradise plant! It was too nice to be taken down. I could not do it. I looked around and found similar smaller materials. I thought something more feminine and soft (see below) when I made my own arrangement.
Just when I finished, sensei was back from her lunch. “I like yours, it’s very calm and feminine.” She said after she saw my arrangement.

“Sensei, I had idyllic type of image in my mind, I thought that dahlia flowers were too strong to serve the purpose, if I use the pompom (mini chrysanthemum) instead, the outcome might be better. May I use them?” I pointed to the pompom in the bucket. “Sure, why not? Let’s study together.”

In the next few hours, we arranged the materials in different ways. When we finished one, I took a picture, then we took them down, arranged another one, took another picture, …

We had five versions. Among them, both sensei and I loved the last one. We decided that’s it and took some rest. I brought my laptop in and showed the class arrangement pictures from past to sensei. We reviewed them and chose few nice ones among them to give our headmaster in Japan. The reviewing process was very good study for both of us, especially for me to listen to sensei’s critique. When we finally finished the picture review, both of us said at the exactly same time, “Let’s redo the arrangement tomorrow.” We laughed after we said that together.

The night I went to see the Chinese dancing performance directed by Yao Yong. I was deeply touched, especially by a dance named “paradise”.

On Sunday, after sensei and I studied another two hours, we came to the agreement. The arrangement, we both liked, emphasized the new shoot on the left. That new shoot brought in the future perspective to the arrangement.

When I wake up Monday morning, the first word came to my mind was “paradise”. Yes, “paradise”, that would be the name for the series of the arrangements sensei and I made over the weekend, I told myself. I wanted to know the definition for word “paradise” in the dictionary. I jumped off my bed, turned on my laptop, and checked few online dictionaries. Unfortunately, none of them matches what was in my mind. The closest one from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary is:

“2: a place or state of bliss, felicity, or delight”

I was little bit disappointed without finding the definition I was looking for. I could not take my mind away from thinking about it. While waiting for the cal train to work, I watched the people moving around on the platform, suddenly I realized that there is no single definition which fits all. A paradise is in one’s heart. When those three dancers were dancing, they were in the paradise of dancing; when Sumi sensei and I studied ikebana, we were in the paradise of ikebana. Though the forms of the paradise are different from one to another, there is one thing in common - in order to reach the paradise state, one has to forget oneself with hundred percent dedication. That is why those three dancers moved audiences deeply.

Monday evening, I went to Yao Yong’s dancing studio and set up a small version of the “paradise” on the stand. I left message to pass to the “paradise” performers to thank them for their wonderful and touching performance.

Enjoy the arrangements and Happy Monday in your own paradise!

In Friendship through Flowers,


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