Wonder, fully grounded

My neighbor has a bonsai forest, which he inherited from a colleague at the New York Botanical Garden. One afternoon over tea with his wife, I painted it like this, with sunlight a slanting gamboge, glazing their petite trunks.

I usually think of rooted trees as extensions of earth. Like living mountains. To contemplate a forest in a ceramic dish forces a leap of mind and spirit. Where is life rooted?

A short answer could be care.

Sometime I sigh, sometime I sing;
Sometime I laugh, sometime mourning
As one in doubt, this is my saying;
Have I displeas’d you in anything?

The care I mean is more complex than its usual usage. An attitude of attention, interest, and enfolding, like a poem living itself out in the moment by moment. It questions, quests, and quenches its own disquiets.

What thing may more declare
Of love the crafty kind,
Than see the wise, so ware,
In love to be so blind?
If so it be assign’d,
Let them enjoy the gain
That thinks it worth the pain.

If the wise think it worth the pain, then that should be good enough for the rest of us.

It’s the art of roots. With wonder I learned that a bonsai tree with proper care can easily outlive us, to be inherited again. And with wonder, I’m reading the songs and lyrics of Sir Thomas Wyatt. Yes, really. Courtly love poetry in an age of incivility: a golden forest in a tiny, lacquered dish.

Maybe go write a love poem, but maybe it’s better to write a care poem right now.

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