Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Surprise Gift

I received a beautiful gift from one of the other Exceptional Children's teachers and her assistant yesterday. I was very taken with the thought that went behind the gift as well as the gift itself. The arrangement was done in an Apache -made pottery bowl. They had included hand-made soaps (made by my friend herself). What really struck me were the floral pieces included. There was a sprig of eucalyptus from her backyard and also, a couple of pieces of dried pine straw.
I grew up in North Carolina where pine trees and pine straw are abundant. Everyone here knows the value of pine straw as mulch for flower beds. I'd never considered it as a design element, but it did lend an almost zen look to the piece.
We tend to ignore, or take for granted, those everyday things in our environment. When I've gone on websites looking for gourd decorations in the past, I've always been drawn to items from exotic locations. I don't usually think of using items I could easily grow myself in my own backyard.
I love to tell the story of a time when I was living in Pennsylvania and was shopping in a floral shop for decorative items. There on the shelf was a box filled with Sweet Gum pods, being offered for sale for 3/$1.00. I still laugh about that. Here in the South, although the Sweet Gum tree is a wonderful shade tree (and was my favorite climbing tree as a kid), we Southerners tend to snatch up every Sweet Gum tree sapling that tries to grow in our yards. Why, you ask? Because those 3/$1.00 gum balls really hurt when you step on them. They're in the way when you want to cut the grass, and they can sprout up everywhere. We don't exactly consider the design elements they could give when the little spikes are sticking into the bottoms of our feet. But, maybe we should.

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