After a most successful Joy of Bonsai convention, organizer Louise Leister and Mike Rogers, President of the Kawa Bonsai Society, sponsor of the event, took Diane and me to a special visit to see ancient Bald cypress. The location is out in the wilds, where “men are men and sheep are weary.”
We took three kayaks on the lake which was smooth glass. The weather was a warm 70F with a clear blue sky and no wind, a bit different than the -10F weather we left in Rochester, and will return to tomorrow. The calm water provided for some interesting reflections.
These ancient Bald cypress trees had tremendous character and really showed their age and effects of nature. I wonder how many hurricanes, storms and floods they saw during their lifespans, which have been estimated to be over 1,000 years old. The oldest trees were not all straight and may actually be Pond cypress which have more movement than the common Bald cypress.
Its interesting to note that Bald cypress seed does not germinate in water so they must have grown on land, which is now Lake Disston. The original soil line was at the level where the base of the trunk begins to well. Some of bases were so large our kayak actually went nearly all the way through the cavity. I was quite impressed by the wood texture.
Throughout the trip wild birds seemed to lead us along the shoreline. Although I did not see any, Mike and Louise heard alligators. Good thing they did not mention it to us. All the trees had loads of Spanish moss and most had clumps of Tillandias, a type of Bromeliads. There were many huge bird nests as well. Some of the Bald cypress were full of male pollen flowers blossoming.
Rather than attempting to rationalizing the design of these natural trees, I suggest you simply enjoy the beauty that God provided us with these old picturesque trees to provide inspirations for bonsai.
A big thank you to Louise Leister and Mike Rogers who took time from their busy schedule to share the beauty of these magnificent trees with us. And, a special thank you to Diane who did ALL the rowing in our kayak so I could take photos to share. Over 400 photos were taken, but only a few of the most interesting are included in this posting.