Leaf Forward – A Lesson of Hope from Bonsai

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day here in the Pacific Northwest. Yesterday’s weather is definitely Spring like. I finally got a chance to pick up a yard of pumice from a landscape supply place to get ready for a repotting session next weekend. I’m looking forward to have a group of folks from our local club volunteer to help me with my repotting. It will be a good time to share knowledge, social bonding, and get some work done.

Before I sat down to write this post however, a light hail just dropped and the weather prediction for next couple of days will hit lows at freezing or near freezing. Just a quick reminder that we are at the edge of Winter and Spring. I keep a close watch of my trees this time of the year as the new tender leaves that are trying to push out can get damaged from a sudden freeze. Or when after repotting, unprotected and newly repotted trees can also get damaged or killed. So far, I been lucky. With a weather like today, one will wonder when will Winter be over? This question maybe a good segue to share an excerpt/teaser from my book. This is from a chapter I call “Leaf Forward” I believe we could all use a lesson of “hope” from this chapter. Here you go, hope you enjoy. I would love to hear your comments on this.

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Rouku posing with the hail ice on the ground.
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Screen shot from my phone showing the temperature lows.
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This is the large pieris had brought to the Flower and Garden Show. It’s pushed 5 inches in about 3 weeks.
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This are new tender leaves from my Acer Ginnala. It’s been temporarily stationed in the garage until the temperature lows are above freezing.

“I’m blessed to have an artistic ability and natural eye for what is beautiful. I know myself as an idea person and somehow, I have the ability to think of new ideas. Other than making myself a cup of coffee in the morning before heading to my office, I have an aversion for routine things. I now understand why this is for me, a creative and artistic person is dynamic and always moving (mentally and physically). To do something routine or monotonous will drive a person crazy like me. When I got into bonsai, I first started with a few trees. Then my collection grew as I found out I can bonsai just about any type any size of plants and trees I can find. Not to mention different styles.

I do remember at one point in my bonsai life when I had so much things going in my personal and business life that my bonsai seem to go by the way side. I did at one point sell some of my trees to reduce the quantity of my collection. What happened however was that every year when the season changes, something always brings me back to my trees. I particularly enjoy my trees in the Spring when the new buds from trees are pushing out. It’s a season full of hope. This time of the year, one can admire the resilience of the trees surviving the winter cold and snow. I’ve talked about the lesson learned from trees in regards to their resilience and persistence in the previous chapter. Bonsai teaches the lesson of hope. Hope unfortunately is diminishing in our modern society.

The common tread it seems that folks don’t have anything to look forward to. Some folks unfortunately take their own life. I also believe in God and I have my faith that gives me a good foundation. Many in our society don’t have that foundation. Without that foundation, people are more susceptible to despair, sadness, depression, addiction, and suicide.

I’m not saying that bonsai is the cure for this, I’m drawing a lesson from bonsai that may help with some of this issue. Hopefulness is a major lesson that can be drawn out of bonsai. To care for a bonsai, one must have the mindset that tomorrow my tree will continue to live and thrive. The bonsai artist must wake up another day to help this tree continue to grow and live. The artist must be selfless and think of the tree’s needs. One may say that it would be similar to having a pet. A pet needs to be fed, go to the bathroom, cleaned, and cared for when they get sick. In many ways trees are similar, the difference is the speed in which they react to your care and affection. A dog will jump up and lick you to death. A tree obviously will not do that but they will continue to grow new leaves, flowers, branches, and roots in response to you caring for them. Their resulting beauty and vibrancy is a show of their affection back to you.”

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