Monday, June 3, 2013

Hidden Art: Chapter Seven

Flower arranging. Not my forte! I like it when friends give me an arrangement, as happened on Saturday.
I once stuck some fall leaves under a potted plant. Does that count? I suppose so!
This arrangement came home with my parents from a banquet once. Stolen arrangements count too.
And why not a single rose? It's simple, but elegant. Perhaps its simplicity draws one's attention to it more.
I believe Edith Schaeffer wanted to drive home the point that it's not really about flower arranging. It's about letting your family know that you care for them. You go past the necessities of merely putting food on the table. You feed the soul as well. You serve up beauty on a single "dish" in the center of the table, from which all eat and drink and are satisfied.

Schaeffer seemed nearly desperate that women understand this truth. She refers to the Dutch, for whom "fresh cut flowers are generally considered a necessity" (98). She quotes a friend: "If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy a lily!" (99). Our goal in bringing beauty inside is to ensure our home "is really a home ... and not a collection of furniture sitting in some sort of enclosure" (99). We all know homes like that; they feel dead. Schaeffer is worried that "the art of living together, of being a family, is being lost" (101). Just as we long to conserve the earth and be good stewards of it, we must practice "the conservation of family life" before it becomes extinct (101).

My problem with flower arrangements is the cutting of the flowers. You have to kill them to bring them inside in a vase. I don't like killing flowers. I much prefer them outside, alive on their stalks with their little toes in the soil, happy until their last breath. Is that weird? So I don't cut flowers; I leave them outside. This makes flower arranging problematic - haha!!!

Flower arranging is like ice sculpture; it's such a temporary beauty. You cut them, trim them, arrange them, place them around the home, knowing that they'll fade and need replacing in a few days. Other beauties -- a watercolor finished, a musical piece learned -- can become joys for a lifetime. A flower arrangement is a memory. It says: even temporary beauty is extremely important, so important that you should sell your extra loaf of bread (tomorrow's meal), to have a piece of beauty today.

One "arranging" I recognized was the breakfast tray. We do trays in our house! Often when the boys were little, Adam trained them to be loving husbands-to-be, by letting them prepare a breakfast tray for me to have in bed. It always had a little vase with a flower. But the entire tray was the beauty -- its "presentation." I hope that practice sank deeply into their hearts because it is a winning thing to bring to your woman in the morning!
Adam recently brought me breakfast in bed, sans the flowers. I like strawberries more!

Our table is a mess. Somehow, it is a dumping ground for keys, books, glasses, dishes, papers, tools, and all manner of paraphernalia. It's difficult to keep it pretty. Sometimes I wonder if it matters to my family at all. I seem to push against their chaos, and they seem ever to push back. Would they notice anything of beauty I placed there?

Schaeffer tells me, "Please try something in this area today. The only way to start, is to start."  Well, tomorrow. It's almost time for bed now.

(Read other posts about this chapter from Hidden Art at Ordo Amoris with Cindy.)

12 comments:

  1. I love flowers but I rarely buy them at the grocery. I feel like the house must be clean and shiny before I bring flowers in. That's silly, isn't it?
    I like the idea of carrying posies around with us and I wonder why you can't buy posies ready-made at the grocery store. It seems to make more sense than placing vases of flowers about the house. When my peonies pop I shall have loads of flowers for all.

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  2. "I don't like killing flowers. I much prefer them outside, alive on their stalks with their little toes in the soil, happy until their last breath. Is that weird? So I don't cut flowers; I leave them outside."

    Yes, often I feel that way too! In the summer, we get a roses on a couple of very old rosebushes climbing up the wall of our house--but I just like to see them out there in the sunshine! Also there are ants...

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  3. I'm remembering too how my first reading of HAOH opened new ideas for table arrangements. Since that reading over a decade (almost 2) ago, I have often arrange a few pieces of gorgeous produce in a wooden bowl with a candle... or a few rocks or shells from the nature table with one of the potted plants and a candle (always a candle) in the center of our meal. I don't mind cutting a few flowers when there are many blooms but often it's not just the flowers that get arranged for enjoyment. :)

    Blessings, Debbie

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  4. I loved the quote about buying the lily. I had already forgotten it which is why these book clubs are so helpful for long term memory.

    Also your breakfast tray was pretty but the food looked fabulous. I am very hungry right now.

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  5. With flowers in vases...less if often more. Leaves make nice arrangements too...prunings..no harm done...all flowers toes intact. Sweet post.

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  6. I enjoy fresh flowers but they get lost on my crammed full of stuff table. sigh. I clean that table and the clutter fairies visit in the night. I can't win.

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  7. I enjoy fresh flowers but they get lost on my crammed full of stuff table. sigh. I clean that table and the clutter fairies visit in the night. I can't win.

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  8. I agree with your point, "It's about letting your family know that you care for them."

    I also love that your husband taught your sons to be loving husbands! That is priceless!

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  9. About *killing* the flowers....

    I like to think that I'm helping the plant be more healthy and bloom more

    ;-)

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  10. Colorful leaves, stolen-I-mean-rescued arrangements, a single bud - absolutely these are all legit!
    And your breakfast tray is gorgeous - you are blessed woman!
    Seeing the "Hidden Art" within our own home, not trying to recreate someone else's is what this book is all about, and I think you've captured that.

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  11. Love your take on this chapter! It ISN"T about flowers ... it's about the love we demonstrate for our families.

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  12. i think your leaves and potted plant look VERY nice. so there. ;)

    and husbands-in-training?! awesome.

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