Thursday, August 05, 2004


Well...actually the words have the same sound, but I'm referring to bonsai (pronounced bOn-'sI), not the Japanese war cry, but rather the wonderful and ancient craft of miniature artistic horticulture.

It's something I've been fascinated with for years, first being exposed to it by my college gymnastics coach, a Japanese national, who used to dabble in it and showed me his plantings once at a team party at his home. The delicate miniature trees and plants are truly artistic creations in the hands of a skilled bonsai crafter.

About four years ago, a friend of mine gave me a bonsai tree for my birthday. I was excited!

Four weeks later it was dead.

Oh did I mention that these plants require constant attention? I was obviously not cut out to be a bonsai master.

My ‘Green Thumb’ Son
Failing miserably as I did with my bonsai, I feel a lot better to see that apparently my son has inherited his Mother's green thumb. Shawn is 22 years old and has for the past four years worked as an arborist, which is fairly big business here in Middle Tennessee. It rains and storms here a lot, not to mention the high winds and occasional tornadoes that frequent the area. Combine this often volatile seasonal weather with the dense coverage of trees we have, and there is a real need for professional tree trimming.

Shawn has worked for two different outfits and gets paid well because he's a climber, and is the guy who gets to be in the tree while it's being pruned or cleared of storm damage. He's been a competitive rock-climber since he was in high school and has no fear of heights, and he loves working outdoors, so he not only enjoys what he does, he's also extremely good at it.

But recently, his dealings with people in the business exposed him to bonsai and he immediately became fascinated with it. It has now become a full-blown passion of his, as these photos will attest.

I think he's done a great job. He has created all of his bonsai’s from trimmings or grown them from seeds. Although these camera-phone images don't really do them justice, I wanted to post them because I plan to make his hobby a continuing blog subject.

It's really great to see the way my children's natural artistic abilities are beginning to manifest themselves. Although neither of them seem to have Michelle and my knack for drawing/painting and graphics, they are really beginning to display artistic ability in forms that we never could. Shawn is no doubt showing his here. He is also becoming quite good at woodworking, and just this week finished a simple, but very impressive small writing desk for his girlfriend. He crafted it completely out of wood he acquired from trees that the company he works for cut down in the course of their work. I'm really proud of him (as if you couldn't tell).

My daughter Amy on the other hand seems to have my Mother's ability for acting, and is developing that as a Drama major at UT Chattanooga. I'm equally proud of her because of the responsibility and maturity that she is displaying as well.

Speaking of Amy's Grandmother, I will be talking more about her in my next post.

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