For some reason today I chose not to place the sphere I had been working on in the installation spot and instead was drawn to late summer materials to make a smaller piece. I chose some grasses, some bittersweet (still in the green stage), driftwood, hydrangea, a fading hosta leaf and some bright orange/red nandina. Perhaps it was meant to be as I was later reading an old copy of Sogetsu Magazine from the 1970’s and came across a series of ikebana arrangements by the late Kasumi Teshigahara entitled “Farewell to Summer Flowers”. So it was the perfect theme which I will try to explore again in the next week or so. Finding the right balance with the materials wasn’t easy, and by balance I mean keeping the ikebana from toppling over. I did continue to work with the materials and finished with something I was proud of. Later in the day I felt the floor shaking upstairs in the cottage we’re having our artist “retreat in. It was very strong, and started to subside and then became stronger than before. My partner and I were trying to figure out what was happening and the furnace alarm started sounding. This is a cottage owned by friends and we know nothing about the furnace, or where the fuse box, those sorts of things you should know. We did locate the alarm box and turned it off, and were afraid from the very violent shaking that had occurred (which lasted about 30-40 seconds) and decided that we could not stay inside for fear of the furnace exploding. Our cell phones could not reach our friends who own the house, so we rushed over to their cottage to call them at home from their landline to see what to do. We got there and one of the neighbors yelled “Are you guys alright?” We could not figure out how she knew about our cottage shaking and asked her how she knew. She replied “Because I felt it, we just had an earthquake, it’s already on the TV news!”. So it was a 5.9 earthquake, very unusual for this area and we felt it 100 miles away from the epicenter. What a relief to know that it was not the furnace on the verge of exploding! Tonight a small 4.2 aftershock about a half hour ago. At least there is no damage (and hopefully everything is alright in our apartment in Washington,DC) and no injuries to anyone, just a great story to tell. Later this week we may have a hurricane coming right up right up the Chesapeake Bay towards us.Oh,and the ikebana arrangement that I struggled to keep from falling over as I was making it, despite all the shaking of the cottage it is still standing. It’s turning out to be a very interesting retreat.