The Beautiful Balm of a Bouquet


When I was in grade school, our general music classes took place in the basement/bomb shelter of the building. As a kid, its mustiness and fluorescent interior did not bother me in the least, nor did its painted cinder-block walls and dank corners. If anything, it was an escape, not solely for the topic at hand, but for the excursion into the recesses of a building we mostly knew from above.

Our music teacher, a blonde woman whose hair changed styles from year to year (there was an especially-iffy perm circa 1986 that I remember to this day) was a piano-playing soprano who endeared herself to me with her annual presentation of ‘Peter and the Wolf’ – still a remarkable introduction for kids to the world of classical music. She doted on me in return – my boyhood voice was pretty soprano as well. I sat in the front row with a few girl friends and she would sometimes use us as an example of how to sing something in tune or in rhythm. (Yeah, I was that kid – and loved it.)

Somewhere during our seven years together at McNulty school, she started to receive bouquets of roses – once every week or so. She’d place them on the corner of her desk, and on those days her step had a brighter bounce to it, her countenance a cheerier aspect. Even her sometimes-questionable hair looked better when that bouquet stood at happy sentinel by her side. When she sang on those days, her voice soared, as if trying to match the heights of beauty that those flowers exemplified. As much as I was struck by their beauty, I was equally enthralled with the effect they had.

A bouquet of flowers changes the atmosphere.

It shifts the balance of a room.

In the case of a dark, fetid basement, it brought in an airiness that was just as good as opening a window.

In the case of a party, it is the mark of a friend.

Always, it is a work of art.

A bouquet of flowers can be as simple or as elaborate as one wishes, limited only by the imagination of the arranger. In the stunning case presented here, a rich landscape of flowers and foliage results in a fresh and vibrant pocket of paradise, a portable glimpse into a miniature world of beauty.

Comprised of a magnificent array of orchids and exquisitely-ruffled tulips that could pass as fancy roses, it is backed by feathery greens, and thrillingly accented by a pair of poppy seed pods that lend it an exotic and other-worldly splendor.

Our friend Courtney made this extraordinary bouquet, as a gracious gift of thanks for hosting JoAnn’s birthday party. I have to confess, I’ve secretly been longing for a Courtney bouquet since I sat at a table that held one of her creations a few years ago. It had sprays of mimosa in it and entranced me with its perfume and delicately designed beauty. When I saw this one, it felt like a dream come true.

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