In my past I have been an aficionado of this art form. I suppose that it is my heritage that makes this connection uniquely nostalgic. It was a surprise, which made it even more valued.
However, I wondered how it would fare on a journey across the nation. The last time I made such a long journey, my similar possessions didn’t make it. The weather swings made it impossible to make the transnational trip.
Yes, my friends gave me a living gift. It is a plant. No, it is far more than a plant.
Penjing is the name I use. That is the Chinese horticultural specialization of growing a small tree in a pot. The Japanese form is called Bonsai.
Carefully, we loaded this Penjing into a plastic laundry basket. We also loaded four of my bride’s orchids. Gingerly, we gave these plants priority seating in our fully loaded truck.
Each night we carried the plants into apartments, houses and hotels during our 2000 mile journey through the desert of SW USA. We made sure that there was plenty of water to keep the soil moist. Of course the air conditioning in the truck made this journey possible.
Together we examined the flora each night. Sometimes we checked them out several times during our journey just to see how they were doing. Was the trauma of travel too much?
Yes, we talked to our plants too. We asked them how they were doing. It wasn’t anything too weird.
No, they did not talk back. At least, not that I know of. Each one showed us their color. That was language enough.
We completed the long trip after seemingly endless miles on the road. While we survived the hard drive, we were especially pleased when we carried our plants into our last hotel in Houston. We made it! They made it! My Penjing made it!
Now, this prized possession will be a part of a Texas home for years to come. If it made it through the super heated desert, it will now easily survive in our new home. Memories live on through the life that has been tested through the journey.
photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography