Our beautiful Japanese magnolia, newly in flower, also needed a slight haircut to prevent it from forming too close an attachment to the wires.
I didn't want one branch more than necessary to be lopped off so I stood vigil outside, sipping my latte and praying that the carnage would end quickly.
As Bernardo gathered the big bunches of foliage in his arms and began to haul them away, I suddenly realized that I had before me an amazing floral design opportunity. Yes, my backyard Arcadia was a little less robust, but because of that, green anarchy could exist inside the Kenmore Arms today.
Using gesticulations and pidgeon Spanish to inform Bernardo of my plan, I relieved him of his bundle, donned my green wellies and went quickly to work. I chose the lushest and shapeliest branches, trimmed them with my clippers and set about arranging them into vases.
There are probably some people who will deem these 'poor man's bouquets', but I am drawn to their unadorned simplicity, their zen modesty and their guilelessness.
In a way, they're a perfect example of wabi-sabi, the Japanese art of finding beauty in things imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. Wabi-sabi embraces the profundity of nature and its inevitable cycle of growth, decay and death.
Bernardo took especial care to hand the magnolia stems to me after snipping them in order to keep the blossoms in one piece. I think they look quite pretty in the foyer -- they are a poetic echo of the wallpaper.
The table by the window accommodates arrangements nicely and these were no exception. It felt right to honor these branches which had provided our family with shade and flower for the past year.
Afterwards, I returned my wellies to the watchful gaze of our trusty house mole and went inside to enjoy my indoor arboretum.