En route to giving a lecture, I stopped by the bonsai collection at the National Arboretum in Washington DC. The trees are in their full autumnal splendor:
Are these trees pitiful captives? In The Songs of Trees I argue, no, the trees — some hundreds of years old — have exchanged the community of a forest for the community of human care. A merger of lives.
Coincidentally, I just finished The Songs of the Trees last night and very much enjoyed the last chapter on Bonsai trees. Just before we moved from North Carolina we visited the NC Arboretum . We enjoyed the entire arboretum, but we were most drawn in by the Bonsai exhibit. I experienced for myself what David describes in the last chapter of The Songs of the Trees, that Bonsai trees are an acute expression of the connection between human and trees. When you look at a Bonsai you can help but contemplate the meticulous care and mindfulness that went into forming the tree.