(Click on the image for a closer look)
Okay, right, so it doesn't exactly scream Bonsai. It's my first untrained, raggedy attempt at pruning a Bonsai tree. I've always admired them but hadn't seriously considered trying my hand at it (not sure why; I've tried most everything else that's artsy) until Dave, Deb and the kids sent me a Dwarf Azalea Bonsai for Mother's Day from Flowers.com, such a beautiful and unexpected gift, growing in a Bonsai pot with gravel and a water tray, and it came unpruned, ready for me to make it my own, but I didn't rush in with the clippers. Instead, I set it outside under the Wisteria arbor where it spent a happy summer and even bloomed. I don't rush into anything that's important to me. When I buy something like a camera or monitor, I'll research for months, finally order it, and when it comes, it still may sit in its box for another few weeks while I acclimate it into my life and my thinking. At this stage in my life, I doubt I'll wake up sane and normal any day now. Besides, most of my friends and family are slightly nutty, too, so who would I talk to?
So this morning I knew this was pruning day. I've been researching online, have ordered a book. Of course there will be a book. If I forgot how to breathe, I'd just buy a book on breathing. You may wonder why I didn't wait for the book to arrive. Hello, I couldn't; this was the day. Beginning with the obvious dead twigs, I worked my inward, imagining as I went that it was a huge tree overhead, shaped by decades and years of wind, rain, heat and cold. I had always sort of imagined that Bonsai must have some archaic, poetic meaning, like windswept bower of the ancients. It doesn't. It means tree in a pot.
The snipping went pretty well, but the wiring, well, let's just say I've got to develop a gentler touch. When I broke a couple of small branches while trying to train them with the copper wire, I figured it was the Universe nudging me to consider a slightly different shape. Turns out, it's my kind of art because it will never be finished, and I'm pretty well hooked already. I've been looking at Bonsai tools, pots, and Dwarf Junipers. And anyway, it was meant to be. I've had the tiny Oriental mudmen for years, can't recall where I got them or why, but when I began seeing how they were used in the photos online, I knew where they belonged, beneath the branches of my first Bonsai.