A friend from my bonsai club was asking about digging some shrubs that his neighbor doesn’t want anymore. He knows I like to collect so he asked if it’s hard. I probably should have just said, “Yes,” but I provided a longer answer that I thought I would share with you.
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We don’t ask this question frequently enough: “Why do you practice bonsai?” And when we ask it, I don’t know that many people answer in a way that really helps us understand how different each of our approaches can be. Responding with something like, “I really love trees,” or, “I love the time I spend in my garden,” for example, is not really the kind of answer that is helpful. When I ask why, here, I really mean WHY?! What is your purpose? What are your goals? What sets you apart from others? Knowing your WHY should drive your decisions, your actions, and your interactions with other bonsai enthusiasts.
Knowing your WHY reminds me of the idea of an “elevator speech.” Imagine you were at a bonsai convention and suddenly found yourself in the elevator with your biggest bonsai hero in the world. You introduce yourself, and your hero asks…
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When I moved to NYC to Austin, Texas for medical school, I knew the transition — cutting my apartment size down nearly a third — would be difficult for my cat. I also knew the transition — going from an apartment with a balcony in the bright, warm Texas sun to only a westward facing window — would be difficult for my plants.
But I hadn’t considered the extent to which my cat — more cooped up and bored than ever before, with sudden access to lots of bright, leafy greens to chew on — would be so terrible for my plants, too.
I will forever marvel at my cat’s ingenuity. I have no idea how she manages to jump up onto ledges with barely any room for her perch, or how she steps over some plants without disturbing them to get to the leafier, and apparently more appealing, plants…
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