If you have ANY inclination to appreciate bonsai, this wonderful piece by Adrian Higgins in the Washington Post might just make that happen.
I used to think of bonsai as a freakish avenue of gardening, but I dismissed
that notion years ago. A bonsai needs continual care and the artistic skills of
its owner; the tree repays the debt by becoming, literally, a model plant — a
grove of beech trees, a stately old maple, or a bleached, writhing juniper on
some imagined mountain top. For all the playacting, there is a deep and quiet
relationship between the plant and its caretaker, and isn't that what gardening
is all about?
And about a tree from Hiroshima:
I don't attach anthropomorphic qualities to vegetation, but just to be alone in
the quiet presence of this tree is moving, and one cannot help but feel
reverence for a venerable and palpable life force.
I know not everyone shares my love for this highly unnatural form of gardening, so the next time I need to explain it I'll just let Higgins speak for me.