Today is the 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb being exploded over Hiroshima. I am not looking to get into an exploration of whether it was right or wrong, don’t want to justify or condemn the decision.
It happened. And with horrifying effectiveness.
No, instead of focusing on our ability to destroy I would rather today feature a story of natural endurance and beauty. I am talking about the now 390 year-old bonsai tree, shown above, that now resides at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, DC. It has made it intact through the centuries of history including surviving the Hiroshima blast which took place less than two miles from its then home.
It started its life on the Japanese island of Miyajima back in 1625. Think about that. Here, we were five years into the Plymouth colony, still struggling to gain our footing in this land while on an island half a world away this tree was beginning its life. And since that time, this tree has received constant daily care, allowing it to thrive and live well beyond the life expectancy of a normal bonsai.
At some point in its life, this rare tree came into the possession of the Yamaki family which ran a commercial bonsai nursery for several generations near Hiroshima. It was at this location when the bomb exploded. The tree was sheltered by a wall and the blast fortunately only caused minor injuries to the family, mainly lacerations from flying glass.
In 1976, bonsai master Masaru Yamaki donated the prized tree as part of the Japanese people’s gift to the U.S. in recognition of our Bicentennial. It has lived the last 39 years, one tenth of its existence, at the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum at the National Arboretum. It has witnessed the world changing in so many ways yet it stands still.
Serene and beautiful. With our care.
Let us hope that we begin to realize that we gain so much more by nurturing this world than through destruction.
Just look to the tree…