Bonsai design- creating such a temporary image

How do you feel about the paradox between our trees often being several hundred years old and the temporary image we strive to create. Our trees are growing everyday and we quickly loose the image that took years for it to come to fruition. . We may discover a better front, We may loose a branch and need to re imagine the design. Whatever the reason, our trees grow out of their proportion so quickly. So much effort goes into such a short lived snapshot in a trees life as a bonsai.
Painstakingly beautiful to me……
What do you think?


my hope is to maximize the image today, and to pass the inspiration to the next generation. the beauty is the now; the health of the tree is the legacy.


Hi @Matt,
I find the impermanence of the image compared with long life of the tree (longer than our lives), inspirational. With skill and artistry, we can use trees to evoke feelings in others at a given place in time and space. These feelings can have a profound affect on others who view it, but perhaps the greatest effect is on us as we work on and care for the tree.
We can learn how to be flexible, how to let go, and how to persist. They teach us how to pay attention, and how to practice patience.
Maybe life is the paradox, and our trees help us to reconcile it?

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I find this to be a common reality of many high level pursuits (primarily performance-related endeavors) … off the top of my head, playing piano (or any instrument for that matter), athleticism, many ceremonies/rituals/celebrations … we work so hard and put in so many hours for his inherently transitory experience … sometimes the experience ‘lives up’ to the hard work and expectations … many times it doesn’t

so why do we do it?

Everything is temporary, art included. Bonsai is just rapidly temporary. It’s also much less temporary other than art forms since it’s alive, for many trees in near-perpetuity.

Remember: almost all of the Very Old Art that we-as-a-species have retained is less than a couple thousand years old. If you pick the right species, and you and your next hundred descendants are very careful, you could beat that. :slight_smile:

I am with @DrC…As a professional music performer/teacher we are always working toward s goal. The performances are very short in comparison to the prep, but without the goal, there is nothing driving the art. Like the tree, we grow as each pursuit reaches it’s conclusion. Each endeavor never really ends because we take what we learned and put it into the next. So, it is really never about the goal, it is about the journey. Remember, great artistry is met with complete silence, not with roaring applause. Why? because they do not want to leave the place the art has taken them and they do not want it to end. Bonsai is a great art form because, like music, it is not static.