Recently, my daughter’s school’s PTO gave out certificates of appreciation and accompanying gifts to treasured members of the community where I live. These were long deserved thank you gifts. As of late last month, our school is now able to invite volunteers back into the school. My husband, for instance, has resumed teaching art classes, after the two year break. I confess that I have not gone back to leading nature walks. Our teachers took over those rambles through the forest when I was no longer allowed to participate in student activities. I feel a degree of guilt and shame while writing this, as I have not yet even filled out the volunteer permission slip. Enabling young children to develop familiarity with our natural environment is so very important to me, yet here I am, letting my contribution slide.
Our public library's Children’s Librarian, Rose Momsen, and Chief Carleton, the Chief of our local fire department, were more creative and showed much more dedication than I did. They found their own ways, through both fluid and halting up and down phases of Covid closures, and continued to enrich the lives of our children. When reopening started to commence and the children in both Washington State, and across the border in British Columbia - where all of my own kids’ classes and sports take place - were able to resume activities such as dance classes, team sports, ceramic lessons, and so much more, the kids in my little town were still barred from taking part. Our international border crossing, which marks the only way in and out of our five square mile community, was closed to all but essential services, and even many essential services weren’t considered essential enough.
For Two Months, Ballet Class Happened Online
So our children stayed home. (This is a great place to stay home, don’t get me wrong. My kids climbed trees, ran through the woods, played at the beach, and avoided helping me work in my garden lol) In some cases, and not only a few, children left their parents and moved across the border for many months to live with other families or grandparents, in order to continue competitive sports and to remain in their pre-Covid schools.
This environment of extra-enforcement, with the intention to slow the spread of Covid, made the efforts of Rose Momsen and Chief Carleton all the more crucial and admirable. With popular bi-weekly school trips to the public library canceled, Rose took books to the school instead, always tailoring her choices to the interests of individual students, each of whom she always takes the time to know. Rose dropped off art kits, as well, ensuring that the children continued to have cultural influences from the outside. Now that everything is going full steam again, these gestures might seem small. However, in times of fear and seclusion, of overwhelming unknowns, Rose tangibly touched the day to day lives of our kids, all for the better, especially during the many months that the library itself was closed to visitors.
As I mentioned earlier, along with the certificate of appreciation, gifts were given by the PTO. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to create Rose’s present. When I went into the library last week to pick up some books, (something that I again take for granted), Rose expressed her feelings about her evening at the School Board meeting. I know she felt how special it was to be recognized at this event. While she shared with me her thoughts and emotions surrounding the speeches, certificates and her bespoke everlasting wreath, I noticed several times that her hands went to rest on her heart. This unconscious expression of her hands is the greatest thanks I can receive. Rose touched our community, we said thank you, and in her own gratitude, she gave again right back to me. Rose's love of both her community and her gifts from the PTO, were palpable.
When I create an everlasting wreath, I am working with flowers that were harvested one by one, each inspected and chosen individually with love. Handled carefully, and placed tenderly to dry, in the moment I have a relationship with every single bloom and seed pod. I don’t rush through the process. Instead, I savour and appreciate the time spent in this task. When it comes time to create, I again look at each flower, I select the right stem for each placement, I am thoughtful about every step of the way, taking the time that is needed to create an object that continues to be full of life. The flowers and plants fill me with joy and with longing to live up to the ideals of how I see their roles in our world. I do my best to respect the materials I am working with and to impart these feelings of positivity and optimism into everything I create. This is just how Rose approaches our children and shares her love of books. Building a dried flower wreath for Rose, I thought of her as I created. I made every attempt to choose colours and textures that I imagined Rose, personally, would love. When Rose placed her hands at her heart, I knew and was filled with joy that I had succeeded. This is important to me, not only because I want to create something beautiful, but even more because this wreath will forever be a marker and reminder to Rose of her own individual beauty.
This gifted wreath is now hanging in Rose’s home, above her fireplace. I imagine that this is a place where she will often be, and I love thinking that every time Rose sees this wreath created just for her, that she will be reminded of what she has given and how much she is appreciated. I love knowing that this wreath is more than a wreath, that it is the embodiment of a moment in time and of a thank you. I love working with fresh flowers, but I do believe that the ability of dried flowers to continually remind us of a time when we knew we were loved, or of a special life event, take the expression of flowers to an even higher level. I am sincerely happy that Rose is part of my personal flower journey.
In addition to my everlasting wreaths, I have begun to create centerpieces from all my dried spring and summer flowers. This warm autumn weather has allowed me to continue picking and drying every single day! I feel great luck that I continue to replenish my ceiling, a sort of upside down wildflower meadow, as quickly as I remove the blooms that are there.
The new centerpieces are a delight to create. I love how I can make the flowers seem to live again, giving them new life in this way. I am taking orders for my centerpieces, which are a way to dress up your table for your holidays. (I will use a variety of different vessels, depending on what is available to me, not just the type shown in the photos). As well, I continue to create everlasting wreaths, which are beautiful and unique gifts. You can also order your outdoor evergreen wreaths to be made for you in November and December.
If you are already beginning to think about your holiday gift giving, and you are looking for something both notable and local, I am taking orders for my gift baskets which are filled with dried flowers and my botanical products made from our local Point Roberts flowers and herbs. I have lovingly harvested every single bloom, leaf and mushroom that go into my skin balms, bath bombs, soaps, shampoo and shaving bars, and herbal tinctures. My personal philosophies drive the creation of my products. Among these philosophies is my intention to create out of the least number of ingredients, these being the simplest and most gentle, while making something that in return provides the most benefits that can be. And, of course, always pure!
In addition, there are so very many products out there – and so I am interested in making something only if it is an improvement upon and better than what you can already find elsewhere. This is the spirit with which I give out into the world.
Wishing you all a wonderful week! And letting you know that Your Local Small Market is taking place Saturday, November 5th, at the Point Roberts Community Center. Love to you,
Your Local Small Market is Saturday, November 5th and 19th from 10am-2pm at the Point Roberts Community Center. Come visit us!
Slow Botanicals are available at