Today I am feeling a bit nostalgic, so I will talk about one of those little, but important, things that I had to leave in Spain. I will talk about my pet, Eny. A bonsai tree from the species zelkova serrata, more commonly known as Japanese elm. He is about 11 years old now, and I must confess he is the most beautiful gift I have ever had. Because he is alive and evolves in time together with me. Because his life completely depends on me, but he just waits in silence for my cares. Never asking for nothing, but giving me a great sensation of peace. Surprising me with a new tiny leaf every day.
Bonsai cultivation is an art closely related to Zen philosophy. Every detail is important, and being patient is essential. There are many different bonsai styles or forms (broom, slanting, cascade, windswept, multitrunk, forest, growing on a rock, etc), and many different techniques to shape the bonsai according to each of them.
Thanks god when I received mine he already had his form: an informal upright style, which means that the trunk grows upright in the shape of an “S” more or less. Why “thanks god”? Basically because all the plants I had before Eny, died after suffering from my cares. And my friends and family were already expecting a tragic final from the beginning. Can you imagine what could had happened if I had had to put a rock among Eny’s roots!!??
But, despite of my “plant killer hands”, I have always tried to do my best with Eny. Putting him for a while under the sun when it is not so hot. Giving him a bath once a week (Yes! a bath, immersing his flowerpot until he stops bubbling!). Spraying his leaves with water to cool him down. Pruning his leaves in the perfect place so the next sprout grows in the appropriate direction. Putting him in the brightest place of the house so his leaves don’t become yellow or bigger and bigger. Cheating him by removing all his leaves so he thinks spring is starting again and he sprouts with new and stronger branches. Surviving together to fungal diseases and red spidermites. And talking to him so he does not feel alone and depressed in autumn.
I realize it is my fault if Eny has not an appropriate Zen style. Because I am unable to make any drastic decision to make him looks Zen enough, as pruning main branches just because they are ugly or putting wires around his small and fragile trunk. I really don’t mind if he is not the most beautiful creature in the world. Neither am I. The only important thing for me is to make him feel as the most loved bonsai in the world. And manage to keep him far from death!! Up to now, I think I am achieving it…