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Andreana Bitsis

Bouquet of the Week: Out Into the Cold

As part of our recurring Bouquet of the Week series, Garden Collage continues to present a weekly inspirational bouquet that incorporates intriguing new elements into the traditional practice of flower arranging. This week, Garden Collage Staff Writer Nora Rose Mueller arranges a bouquet reflecting on the prospect of the winter months ahead– and how Nature carries us through.

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The world has felt very dark of late. Part of that is the very literal occurrence of daylight savings, which– year after year– never fails to leave me completely disgruntled and disoriented, as if I’ve just woken from one of those long, unintentional, dead-to-the-world naps that leaves me unsure what letter my name starts with.

The other part– the more metaphoric part– has been the state of current events. The United States (and some members of the larger international community) seems to be set on a dark timeline and rarely does a day pass now when I don’t think to myself, “This is a plot straight out of an over the top, dystopian YA novel– how can this be real?!” But I continue to be surprised (and shocked, and alarmed, and ashamed) by what is happening, particularly as the news proves itself an endless well of disaster with no apparent conclusion in sight. The prospect of the year’s end seems to have brought with it a great darkening, closing in swiftly like the heavy velvet curtains at the end of a show. In the infamous (and now oft overused) words of Game of Thrones, “winter is coming”, and pitching us into a kind of paralyzed stillness.

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Andreana Bitsis

But that is Nature’s great deception: that everything at this time of year is sleeping or dead (or somewhere in between), buried and defeated under the snow and cold with no intention of emerging until better weather arrives. But nature is alive (some parts more than others), moving at its own pace. Nature never stops, or reverses– it is always moving ahead, evolving and shifting as it oscillates towards some Platonic, ideal state.

I had been dreading my wintertime Bouquet of the Week, unsure what I would be able to find at the florist’s save some bent alstroemeria, or wilted roses, or stale baby’s breath. Culturally, cold weather is a time for staying indoors and remaining sheltered from the harsh elements, the idea being that there is little to see outdoors in any case. But as I made my way through the floral district in NYC, I was met with the smell of different pines, freshly-cut and with a scent tart as cranberries. Playing on the unexpectedly verdant foliage of winter– in darker, heavier greens than those of spring, tempered by their longevity and cold weather– I arranged my bouquet to celebrate what perseveres through the dark months ahead, deterred (sometimes with every force conspiring against it) but never stopped. To my various firs and evergreens I added unopened pinecones, stripped eucalyptus, and small white roses. All together, the bouquet has a sharp, clarifying scent, one that’s strong and fortifying, that regroups your thoughts like a deep breath of cold air, imbuing you with the necessary courage to face the cold and reminding you there’s always work to be done, even in these dark times.

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