The autumn leaves are falling like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are always two cups at my table.

T’ang Dynasty poem

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Having just finished shovelling the snow

Having just finished shovelling the snow, one's thoughts turn naturally to ... Flower Arranging!

If you click on the title of this post, you'll be directed to the Aikido Journal, specifically to a blog entry by Dave Lowry. Mr. Lowry is a senior practictioner of Classical Japanese Martial Arts, and was taught ikebana (flower arranging) by the wife of his kenjutsu sensei. There is an excerpt below. Also, if you click here, you will be directed to the Wikipedia article on ikebana. Enjoy.

Of all the requisites faced by the budoka (“martial artist”) contemplating the construction of a new dojo or training facility, the tokonoma (“alcove”), with its space for the display of arranged flowers, could rank in importance somewhere between solar-powered showers and cashmere mats. Pragmatism must sometimes take precedence over aesthetics. Safe, durable training floor surfaces, adequate dressing facilities, and so on, are more apt to concern dojo builders than will a shelf devoted to flower arrangements. Later on, the tasks of training, teaching, and maintaining the dojo are more likely to occupy its inhabitants than are such matters perceived solely as decorative like the arranging and display of flowers. This is reasonable. But it also risks the development of dojo—and we need not look far to find examples of these—that are physically healthy but seriously lacking in their collective soul. They are filled with budoka who are learning well the outer, physical aspects of their art. Yet something seems missing, something internal, unidentifiable in words by the students perhaps, although palpable if by no other sense than by its absence. A good many trends that today surface in budo (“martial Ways”) training, the recent interest in some of the spiritual aspects of the martial Ways, for example, appear fundamentally to be efforts at nurturing or reestablishing this spirit, this attitude, this matter of what we might call the budo’s “soul.”


ms_lili said...

Staying with your original thought -- shoveling turning to thoughts of flowers -- it looks like the photograph is showing a lovely hybrid dahlia. Wow they can do some amazing things with genetic manipulation of flowers nowadays. Do a google on heuchera and when you find the place out on the west coast that is the premier place for new varieties, take a look.

Secondly, I'm glad you chose a photo with a flower still attached to it's plant. The flower arranging you talk about is where they cut the flowers and stems off from their plants and impale them upon metal spikes. To me the practice is like beheading a human being, placing their head on a pole and admiring it. Or a hunter who has a taxidermist mount his "trophy's" head on a slab of once-living tree (aka wood).

Ikebana steals the magnificence of a once-living thing and transfers it to the ikebanist (sp?)

The beauty in the floral world for me is to see the process of a seed/seedling/root travel from state to state, throughout a season.

Rick said...

There's a number of different schools of ikebana, and I'm sure there is at least one that keeps the flowers and plant intact.

I like the flowers attached to living plants as well.