What is Bonsai?

Bonsai is an art, it is horticulture, it is a way to appreciate the aesthetics of nature and reflect upon the generations that shaped it.  Trees are passed from person to person and generation to generation.  For some years they may thrive under the careful care of someone who loves them while they may spend some years neglected and clinging onto life.  Working with bonsai is like painting or sculpting, except that the medium gives responsive feedback.  It is like a dance: the artist will lead the tree to the flow of the song, and just like a dance, the tree will let the artist know what it can and can’t do.

Bonsai is like any sport, art, or profession.  It requires countless hours, day, and years of work.  To show a tree is like preparing for a performance, decades of work for one minute in the spotlight.  All of those hours learning how to wire, to prune, and to keep the tree healthy will culminate in a moment where the tree will be displayed for many to see.

Bonsai is an everlasting collaborating between artist and tree.  After a painter completes a painting, it will sit there for centuries to be admired.  When a bonsai artist creates a beautiful tree, the image of the tree will last for maybe one season before it grows out of shape.  For bonsai artists, the paint on their canvas will melt every few months or a year. They will need to hold the brush again and again to renew the glory of their work.

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