Momentum in Stasis

A little lost for things to do during these pandemic doldrums—long, static, monotonous internal weather where the parched psyche longs for the sensation of movement, even a molecule nudged up, forward, around.

Into that stasis a question appears. What was I doing at this time in 2018 during my final two weeks at Sogetsu Kaikan? Easy enough to check. Initially I resist looking back thinking that it isn’t likely to be a helpful exercise when I yearn to move forward; however, it is a molecule and back is also a direction.

I had completed three two-hour classes that day. The first assignment was 2.15 Slanting Style Variation No 6 Nageire for which I chose a white container with pale green accents in the glaze, Japanese quince branches, white spider chrysanthemums with green deep green centers and used crossbar fixing.

The second lesson was Variation No.7 Floating Arrangement and Spreading Morimono Arrangement which required two arrangements in a single lesson. For the first requirement I floated a few leaves I removed from a splendid muscular branch of Mahonia Japonica in a large, brown suiban.

For the second spreading arrangement the remainder of the branch lay splendidly on the worktable. Sometimes, by great good luck the natural material does the work of creating line for me. However, it is not enough to toss it there and call it finished.

I deconstruct the foliage and fix it to the branch more artfully than nature has done. By another stroke of fortune a single yellow bud signals a future still invisible emerging from the fading, russet past–a  highly desirable trope in ikebana.


During the evening class, Lesson 2.17 Variation No. 8 Combined Styles Moribana & Moribana. Being quite drawn to unusually moody flowers I choose magnificent near-black orchids together with branches of budding Japanese raspberry. These I fix in kenzans inside black containers.

Again, the symbolism suggests emergence from the depths of winter which will culminate in fruit.

Hmmm. How apposite this reminder. Fruition is my theme word for 2021. How ironic. By stepping back into my history—the early days of my progress as an ikebana student and artist–seeing anew the symbolism of the budding branches, I am reminded of the relentless, invisible forces quite outside what appears to be stasis.

I also remember well the endorphin rush during the creation process kicked into overdrive by Okazaki-sensei’s unrestrained compliments for my burgeoning abilities and excellent understanding of ikebana. Today, I touch that, feel it once more–as well as greater serenity for the unknowable future..

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