August 19th was one of the best days of my life. One of the best days of my life. How often do you get to say that? I mean, really? This day was that special. That precious. It was a dream of a day that I could actually touch and smell and feel and wrap my arms around and hold on to ... ever so tightly. And drink in. And savor. And enjoy. And remember. Always.
We arrived - the 16 of us - to a farm that was carved out of a storybook. A beautiful barn that was already filled with heaps of flowers - and just waiting for us to further fill it with laughter and learning and each others love of flowers. After getting to know one another a bit and breakfast, we drove over to Erin's fields and ....
I could feel the Cheshire grin grow. And grow - in this amazing, ridiculously glorious field that I know I have visited more than once in my dreams- I was HERE, firmly standing crazy girl grin and all, in awe. In reverence. Then she let us loose. Erin told us to cut. To cut everything we wanted and then when we felt truly sated and wholly gluttonous - to cut some more.
My snips, and my goof ball grin and I ... I * think * we just wandered around for a spell. Revering and reveling and touching each and every dahlia I passed. Telling myself and the flowers with absolution that I was here. Now. And that I was going to enjoy every bud. Every bloom. Every little moment that I had daydreamed and night-dreamed and all of the in-between-dreamed. Yes - I was really here.
When I couldn't stand it any longer... I cut my first flower. And before I knew it, I had a bucket full.
Not quite a truck full.
We picked and plucked and packed our buckets so completely, wonderfully full - then we went back for more.
(Its perfect, the soil ... in case you were wondering.)
The barn already had a bounty of flowers in it ... before we went to the fields. But after? Oh the after - I would have rolled in them all if I could. Eaten them. Devoured every bucket upon bucket upon overflowing flower filled bucket. I loved looking at what everyone else cut- their palettes, their preferred colors, varieties they favored - the riot of color and texture we created was in its own right - perfect.
We took a break for a leisurely lunch. We laid on the front lawn on vintage quilts and cloths - sharing our favorite parts of the day that had already happened - anticipating what was yet to come.
In the afternoon we watched as Erin demonstrated how to make large scale arrangements. Now, I should probably share ... I have a HUGE (massive) girl crush on Erin. (Is that the type of thing you share?) I think she is just - amazing- in a word. And I can tell you honestly- I cannot even think of a single time in my life where I have been more awe struck and motivated by someones drive and passion and beauty and ambition and openness and willingness to share and teach. On my end, it was love at first sight. (In a weak moment, I might tell you I completely teared up and sort of lost it when I snuck away from the group to meet her and to privately thank her for having me. To see her eyes look down and see my name tag- and put my face with my name and to see her smile a "here you are" smile ... yeahhhh ... totally lost it ... but I am not having one of those moments, so I'm not going to share that bit.)
Then, we made our own. We took pictures. We learned. We taught. We played.
And then, then before we knew it, we had arrived at the end of our first day together. Physically exhausted, emotionally blissed out I returned to the hotel to reflect on the day, and to dream about what tomorrow was going to bring. (I don't think I slept a wink.)