On Beauty in Bonsai-

Michael Hagedorn

If we check in with our natural instincts around beauty, most of us prefer the pristine lake over the muddy swamp. 

Those who have been to Crater Lake in Oregon will remember the brilliantly clear water contrasted with the arid surrounding landscape, and it probably struck you as speechlessly beautiful. Wetlands, with their reeds and mucky shorelines—and unknown slimy things that might attach themselves to you—are distasteful. If we get too close our shoes get dirty. Mosquitos abound. So, generally, we route our vacations to avoid swamps and move on to pristine lakes.

And although not many of us are moved to appreciate the qualities of the swamp, the biological truths of the swamp vs. Crater Lake are stark. At Crater Lake the only fish present were stocked long ago; none are native. Aquatic plants are scarce, mostly a moss that grows between 100-400 feet down. And the lake…

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