Monday, May 21, 2018



For a moment put your mind on a flower, or a bird, or a white cloud. Think of the calmness of nature.

      But nature is not always peaceable. There are floods, and avalanches, and tidal waves, and other violent goings-on. Still, such events are as much a part of nature as is a flower.

      Somewhere I read that Hindus never complain about the weather because it is a natural phenomenon. I don’t know if that is true, but it’s a nice thought. Mark Twain supposedly said “Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”

      A flower may be beautiful, but it doesn’t exist for human enjoyment. In nature a flower’s color, and fragrance, and form are necessary for the survival of the species.

      Ginkgo biloba, commonly known as the maidenhair tree, is the only living species in the plant division Ginkgophyta, all others being extinct. It has been around a long time. Fossils of it date back 270 million years. Talk about survival!

      Ginkgo has long been cultivated in China, and some living trees are believed to be over 1,500 years old. Because of its status in Buddhism and Confucianism, the ginkgo is revered in other parts of Asia.

      Gingko is the official tree of Tokyo, and the symbol of Tokyo is a ginkgo leaf. The leaf is also the symbol of the Urasenke School of the Japanese tea ceremony.

      The point of all this is, humans may appreciate nature, or they may attempt to destroy it. But nature is not made for humans, and the gingko, like all of nature, is accustomed to change.

      Despite ice ages, rising temperatures, and rising seas, nature will go on long after we are gone.

      Even if there is no one to appreciate its beauty.

One of China’s most celebrated gingkoes is located near a hermit cave where an ancient Taoist lived. The tree is estimated to be almost 2,000 years old, and it is more than 350feet tall. When a temple was built around the hermitage, the tree became incorporated into the structure which is called Cave of the Heavenly Teacher.  

A Qing dynasty poet wrote about the tree:

In exquisite billows the foliage

Cascades from its shrouded source in the sky,

Green abundance veils the top,

Dwelling place of the lone crane;

Like a dancing phoenix,

Its trunk soars to the clouds,

Like a coiled dragon perching on a cliff

Its invisible qi.


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