It’s always a treat to visit Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania with my friend Devon. This time there was ikebana and incredible bamboo installations by Akane Teshigahara, who is the head of a famous flower arranging school but also creates monumental sculptural works out of ephemeral plant material.

(Photographs from Longwood site).

This reminded me of another experience with bamboo. When we were in Japan two years ago there was a week when Isabel was on intense deadline, finishing the video to install in an old grain silo. She was working in lockdown. It was wet and cold, but I needed to get out of our residence in House 3 every day. My son-in-law Tim had come along as our “baggage handler” and support in everything. He’d go out early on a bicycle and shop for groceries, I’d write, but by afternoon I’d need entertainment. Every day we set off on food or by local train for a mini adventure. He had a cell phone ap that showed every Buddhist and Shinto shrine in the vicinity, and these were often a destination. A paper map showed a “stone” on a hill above the commercial road–probably Shinto. We set off to find it, despite being vague about its location.
We were soon climbing up a mountain road, the hillside terraced for cabbages and citrus trees. Yes, it was damp and hovered at about freezing, but Itoshima is basically a Mediterranean climate agriculturally, and fruit still hung in the misty weather. No Shinto stone, but we suddenly found ourselves in a vast bamboo forest, the stalks as high as huge trees, creating a deep wood. “Close your eyes and listen,” Tim said. That’s when I heard the forest creaking like a wooden schooner riding the waves.

2 thoughts on “Bamboo

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