A few years ago I rekindled my interest in growing bonsai (‘tree-in-pot’) as a pastime. I say rekindled, as I once had a bonsai tree (purchased) in the early 1970’s that I promptly showered with benign neglect that eventually led to its demise. I have recently connected with an esteemed bonsai mentor who has his own collection of some 250 trees, most of which are of the “eight-hand” variety (i.e., 4’ to 6’ tall and take four people to carry). I quickly came to the conclusion that pursuing anything of this size would not go over well with my wife as we live in a townhouse with a small deck out the second floor. A secondary reason was that the dormant trees must be stored downstairs in the garage during the winter and then hauled back upstairs in the spring. Consequently, I am confining my interest more to the “one-hand” variety.
A key aspect that I did not realize in the 1970’s, and people who sell you store bought bonsai don’t know to tell you, is that non-dormant trees, especially bonsai, must be continuously growing in order to stay healthy. Thus, besides watering and feeding, trimming and repotting bonsai are the norm.
It is not difficult to enjoy the small investment of time enjoying bonsai, except perhaps when you have 250 trees. For instance, they offer significant benefits once one’s children are grown – bonsai don’t eat much, don’t grow much, don’t run around, can be left alone for long periods during the day, can be left out at night, and do not scream at each other. They do need watering and feeding on a short, routine schedule (and a drip system when you are traveling).
The concept of constant growth led me to realize that nearly the same applies to all plants and animals in nature, including us. It’s Fundamental Principle 11. Growth or renewal is always there even after the organism reaches its optimal size, as cell division and replacement are ongoing (while it is a myth that nearly all of the cells in our bodies are replaced by new ones about every seven years, research has confirmed that different tissues in the body replace cells at different rates, and some tissues not at all – neurons, for example).
What sets us apart in nature is even after we stop growing in size we are capable of continuing to grow in knowledge – to learn. In essence we are learning beings. How well we do that and where we stop probably depends upon our ongoing conscious choices. It apparently has nothing to do with adding or even replacing neurons in the cerebral cortex.
Success in our relationships, marriages, parenting, hobbies, and careers depends upon our willingness to actively grasp Fundamental Principle 11:
Continuous growth through Learning is necessary to stay healthy.
Are you continuously learning, continuously growing?
What does this have to do with bodegas? Coming up in the next post.