I’m on vacation down in Naples Florida. About three hours or so south and west of my home, Orlando. It’s a whole different type of climate, very much more tropical than Orlando. I haven’t seen much since I’ve been here though, I’m still on the tail end of a recovery from some illnesses.

First, on May 29, I had a colonoscopy to look into the state of my intestines and what would be needed to finally reverse my ileostomy. Unfortunately, my large intestines are, pardon the pun, crap, and the procedure perforated them, filling my abdominal cavity with the medical gasses they use in the procedure, and I was in the hospital for a week or so.

Then I got to go home, to my big comfy couch and, through copious medications, the pain slowly went away.

Aha! But then came the pneumonia. That’s been another few weeks added to my couch jockeying.

I think the pneumonia was from the hospital, exacerbated by that bastard of an air bubble; the lung affected was the one the bubble was pushing up against, causing all the pain.

I’ve lost thirty pounds. Not in a good way. Muscle atrophy is a real thing. I’m weak, still have abdominal pain, from the coughing and dry heaves, and my insides feel loose, like after my first surgery.

I’ve been on ibuprofen and acetaminophen for a month and a half, so when I let the pills run out, I get all of the aches and pains a 40-something-year-old, who’s abused his body viciously, deserves. Not to mention I think I’m having a gout flare in my knee.

Wah wah me, feel sorry for the old cuss.

There are others who are far worse than I.

But bear with me, I’m just setting the scene.

While I’ve been here, with the family going to the beach and what not, I’ve stayed inside and worked a few trees I brought along. That’s me.

Whenever I can, I try to practice my Art. It’s been tough. I haven’t been out in my nursery more than a handful of times in the last month and a half.

First, I’m weak. My lung capacity is greatly diminished. And the albuterol treatments are not fun. Jittery, nervous, short tempered.

I yelled at the microwave today. 

So here I am, watching Disney+ in the Airbnb, trying to stay hydrated and counting the hours from when I last took that last 800mg of ibuprofen and trying not to cough. Then I got a message from a FB friend, Buzz. He asked if I could come by and take a look at his collection and work on some trees.

It took some serious thought to say yes.

I won’t lie.

There’s being unwell, then there’s the inertia of sitting on the couch. Could I motivate myself to work? Could I handle a few hours wiring and pruning? Would I start to cough and then vomit?

Well, there I am.

I made it off the couch.

I guess this wouldn’t be a blog post if I hadn’t.

I didn’t take many pics…

Only three bad pics, and no before pic. And the one with me in it is from Buzz.

Look at that base! (In botany they call it the buttress. In bonsai, the Japanese term is nebari)

The tree is a willow leaf ficus. I was excited seeing it. It looked cool with the dead area on the trunk (what’s usually called a shari in most bonsai circles).

And that’s Buzz, say “Hi!”

Thank you Buzz, my friend. It was a treat, and an honor to look at your collection and for you to let me work on this tree.

He tried to say I transformed it in an amazing way. I told him that he grew the tree, took care of it, grew the branches and the rest, and all I did was take a few pieces away.

That’s not me being modest. It’s more difficult to keep a tree alive than for me to come in and do some pruning and wrap some wire around the branches.

So again, I thank you, sir, for the opportunity to work on your tree.

And that’s it.

15 thoughts

  1. Dear Adam
    Thank you very much for your inspiring blog posts. All of them, but particularly the ones about bonsai art, you provide a different and valuable point of view.
    I hope you get better soon, keep working, I think it will help you.
    Get a virtual hug from a follower.

    Greetings from Spain.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hang tough, Adam. I’m sure you have many, many trees ahead of you. Sending all my positivity your way.
    May your buttress be gnarled and your foliage grow dense.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Adam, thank you once again for an excellent blog, and for allowing us into your life. It is people like you who I most admire: knowledgeable, humble, with an uncanny sense of humor; respectful and, a visionart always showing a positive view of things in life. Love how you develop your own standards and its ensuing product, both on trees and people around you. Hope to see you through this; my best wishes and positive thoughts with you. I’ll see here when you’re out and well again, and hope that I’ll see you work a Delonix regia for us!
    Get well and, Godspeed to you, Sir!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hey man, take it easy over there. Hope you get better!

    Oh and that first tree in the yellow pot, holy…. I started in awe for a few minutes

    Liked by 1 person

  5. take care of yourself…you will get back to a new normal…..lots of sympathy I was in bed flat for 30 day with a crushed vertebrate……and yes atrophy is REAL …..do as much walking and you can AS MUCH AS YOU CAN …because of the back I started with only 10 min a day….thats all I could do….recovery took months …advice walk as much as you possibly can …

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Adam, just want to give you some good vibes from Austria – I hope you will get better or ask your doctor if he could fix itwith some wire, maybe defoliation can help too. We need you in the bonsaiworld all over.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I hope you feel better. Your blogs and personality have been so important to me as I learn about bonsai. You’re (based on my reading) a really cool and kind person, and I wish you many more happy years.


  8. First, I’m glad that wasn’t your final tree. Secondly, I’m glad that you’re a hard headed, ornery old cuss that won’t give up and have recuperated enough to get back in the saddle again. My prayer is that things will continue to get better with you in time and you’ll be back out there snipping leaves, wiring and bending branches, pulling weeds and kicking ass in short order. Get healthy; stay well; and stay safe.


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