It’s been feeling definitely spring-like for a few weeks now. We even had a 30-degree day last week, an early blast of summer that dropped with an afternoon southerly leaving a cool, rainy trail of days since.
An unplanned window of a couple of hours opened up yesterday afternoon and made my husband and our three boys come with me to visit a local family-run bonsai nursery called Padre Pio Bonsai. The teenagers stayed home pleading study and a need to bake biscuits respectively (chocolate chip – they were very good!).
The nursery owner was obviously passionate about his craft. As we arrived, he was escorting a large, aged bonsai to the back of a customer’s car. He stood chatting for there quite some time, giving care instructions and other advice and telling him to call with any questions. We overheard him say that he had been caring for that tree since he was 10 years old.
There was something of a sense of solemn happening around this exchange. I imagine while those big sales are very welcome some might make him a little anxious and nostalgic too, having poured hope and painstaking effort into these living things for so many years.
There was a little ritual of taking a photo of it, before selecting the right-sized cardboard box and packing the tree in securely, all the while getting a fair idea about the customer’s level of commitment and repeating the necessary instructions for keeping it alive.
We didn’t mind having to wait for our turn because it gave us more time to admire the advanced specimens worth thousands of dollars, and the hundreds of other trees, shrubs, vines in various stages of progress.
I asked Isaac to pick out a small one and he decided we were going to take home three young trident maples planted together to form a little grouping. It set us back $30, but while he was choosing, another guy came in and slapped down $1000 for a stately windswept-style pine that he said he would give his wife for her birthday.
The boys were fascinated by the price tags as much as the huge variety of trees themselves. I tried to draw them into a bit of a philosophical discussion about nature, art, beauty, culture, or the wonder of time. I gave up after about 20 seconds when I saw I wasn’t going to get anywhere. Hopefully they were soaking something up though just by being there, and that it was a bit more than simply a desire to be rich!
Maybe I only have to show them this, from the nursery website:
“Padre Pio was a wonderful example of the living out of our faith, that is why we have placed his name on our business, because of the understanding that in God there is always growth, and all that we do and have in our business will also grow. An example of this is the bonsai tree, when cared for and growing it is blessed by God’s gift of love and life, and becomes what God created it to be.”
The photo at the top is of a wisteria bonsai – I love seeing them in purple flower every spring…