For fourteen years, Ana Cristina has been making floral arrangements for El Santuario de San Nicolas de Bari. She considers them her ofrendas (offerings) to God.
Every Friday morning, you will find her in the courtyard of the church, snipping brown spots from broad leaves; stripping excess foliage from lilies, carnations and other flowers; and plumping floral foam with water.
Ana Cristina works fast. From start to finish, it takes her about fifteen minutes to make a new bouquet. If a visitor is present, she talks nonstop, explaining each step of the process.
She says that a good floral arrangement emphasizes the dynamic interaction between line and light. It is a celebration of symmetry.
Sometimes bits and pieces of last week’s arrangements find their way into a new bouquet. Recycling is an art where materials are expensive. Hence, nothing usable is wasted.
Ana Cristina invites me to follow her into the church, where she places her latest creation near the altar.
“To look upon flowers,” she tells me in Spanish, “brings peace to the soul.”
the cat with no name
purrs when I say marigold
and accepts a pat
Text and photo © 2016 by Mark M. Redfearn, all rights reserved