“Satsuki” bonsai at the National Bonsai Collection in Washington, DC.
These small trees (Rhododendron indicum) are native to Japan and grow just a few feet tall in the wild. They are cultivated for their prolific blooms and tolerance of pruning. They make gorgeous bonsai and the National Arboretum has several in full bloom. If you’re in the DC area, I recommend a visit. The exhibit closes on June 2. Of course, the rest of the bonsai collection is also looking great as the trees enjoy the early summer rains.
The contrast between the quiet, organized art in the collection and the immediate surroundings of the National Arboretum is striking. Large encampments of homeless people crowd below interstate underpasses and the mentally ill shuffle down buckled sidewalks, talking to no-one and everyone.
Beauty and brokenness. A dissonance that seems particularly painful so close to Washington’s power and wealth.
The Arnold Arboretum in Boston has a wonderful Bonsai collection in an outdoor kiosk six months of the year.
Good to know. I’ll have to make a trip to view what must be some gorgeous plants.
your observations usually draw together the beauty and the . . . what? not cruelty, but maybe discordant, random crosscurrents of nature; which to me seem somehow fitting even at their most grotesque (the horsehair worm and the cricket). When humans are the actors, in society or in nature, somehow it does not seem fitting or appropriate at all. But the worst human failure is not to see.
Crosscurrents is a good word. And perhaps unexpected concordance and discord. Thank you for reading all this!