Bonsai as Anchors

A bonsai is simply a tree in a pot. Of course, we all conjure up something more in our mind when we think of a bonsai. Mr. Miyagi carefully pruning. Or a 100 year old tree in some exhibit perhaps. Bonsais feel…unattainable. But, at their core – bonsais are simply a tree in a pot.

Over the course of this pandemic, I have reintroduced myself to the world of bonsai. A world that has always had outsized appeal in my heart. One of my first additions to my apartment when I got a place of my own was a bonsai. And then another. I ended up with 7. One was a beautiful redwood forest that was about 15 years old. They all died the first summer I had them. I had a 12 day trip and the water system I attempted was no match for the southern heat.

I have not let myself get back into bonsai over the past decade. The amount of travel and general chaos in my life did not allow for the level of care a bonsai deserves. And then the pandemic came. We started working around the house more and I noticed all sorts of small trees growing in our yard. I started to dig them up and put them in pots.

I have a maple that is holding on. An oak that is doing much better than I could have imagined. And then I went to Lowes. I bought a boxwood and a barberry. And then we visited a Japanese maple nursery and I bought a 3 foot Peve Stanley Japanese maple. My love has been rekindled.

On the whole, bonsai, as an art, is still well beyond me. I have watched many hours of bonsai videos and read many articles. (I highly recommend Bonsai Mirai) Each type of tree has its own wants and needs. Every location has its own challenges.

But for me, right now, bonsais are trees in pots. I water them everyday. I spend time with them. And for me, they serve as an anchor.

While everything around us is changing so much, my trees only change a little. A new leaf here or there. The boxwood took off faster than I expected after I repotted it. But on the whole – they feel manageable. They feel like life at a pace that is understandable – enjoyable. And then I log on to Twitter.

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