Over the weekend, I took a virtual flower arrangement class through Alice’s Table. Friday evening, beautiful blooms and a surprisingly small vase arrived in a box on my doorstep. There were hydrangeas, red roses, gunni eucalyptus, cedar branches, dusty miller leaves, and hypericum berries. Don’t let me fool you. I did not know all of the names of my natural materials until Saturday afternoon. Following the “Get Ready” steps, I freed the florals of their rubber bands and plastic wrapping, clipped the bottoms of the stems, and submerged them all into a large vase that housed water and plant food. “Your flowers are really thirsty,” the instructor mentioned in the introduction video. Well, I thought, these babies will be hydrated come tomorrow. My job here is done.
Saturday afternoon arrived, and I began setting up my workspace. I cleaned up the junk mail that was invading the table and began to gather my supplies. Florals – check. Vase – check. Water & plant food – check. Scissors – check. Laptop – check. My friends were scheduled to reach out via FaceTime by 2:30. Laughter was another necessity for the experience ahead.
We began giggling at how small the vase was. We joked about filling up the glass with a drink of water. We are no experts, and we assumed there must be a way to snuggle all of our blooms together in the small, frosted vase. Sure enough, the joke was on us. Alice began her workshop by sharing that the number one inquiry prior to the class always sounds something like “Are you sure you sent me the right vase? It seems too small.”
It was time to get started. Alice reminded us of everything we needed to be successful. There were learners in the chat box who claimed they did not have the eucalyptus leaves. Does this sound familiar, teachers? Of course, she responded with patience. “You have it,” Alice reassured. “Just keep looking.” We layered in our greenery to create the base. Then, we began working with blooms. Alice taught us that we must work with the largest ones first, working our way down to the smallest. I also learned a new way to care for hydrangeas (no wonder the ones I clipped from the farm died within two days over the summer).
While Alice streamed on Zoom, my friends and I engaged on FaceTime. “What did she say?” Emily chimed in. I repeated the directions. “Does yours. . .” I inquired. “I think my stems are too long,” Jonna reflected. “How many are we using?” We listened. We snipped. We considered placement. We snipped again. We added more. We rearranged. We held up our works in progress. The process was messy yet joyful. Our workspaces were full of scraps. By the end, our hearts were happy. We were proud of our creations.
This experience has me thinking about the importance of new experiences and continued laughter. It has me thinking about setting up a successful workspace and what it looks like to engage with a learning partner. I am also thinking about the current writing work students are trying in the classroom– information writing and revision.
For now, I’ll enjoy the beauty of my final product. I might just write a mentor information book using all I know now, too.