Monday, June 04, 2007

Under the bamboo


A curious plant that proliferates by sending out runners. Persistent. One that lives for many years, but when it flowers, often dies.

A resilient plant that encompasses opposites: straight, yet flexible; tough, yet light; solid, yet porous.

In China, a symbol of longevity, and one of the four Noble Ones, along with chrysanthemum, orchid, and plum blossom. Learning how to paint bamboo leaves is one of the first lessons in Oriental brush painting.

Bamboo is used to create many things; from weaponry to musical instruments. It’s the only food source for the Great Panda.

Ancient legends say that vast bamboo forests used to stand in the southeastern U.S.
Until European settlers cut it all down.

As the wind blows through our neighborhood tonight, I imagine how it would sound through a mighty forest of swaying bamboo…

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.
--Bruce Lee

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

bamboo sticks are both weapons and percussion instrumnents at carnival in Trinidad. Throughout the Caribbean, "big bamboo" is a penis, as if proving Freud's fusion of sex and aggression right, but I've walked among stands of bamboo in the Berkeley hills without conscious erotic or fitful fantasies, thinking only of how they resemble cursive letter "I"s, that daily carnival of identity bigger than social theory, that drum beat of me, me, me, or I, regenerated in a breeze.

MA Shumin said...

The bamboo also (in old Chinese tradition) represents the ideal person: to be strong yet still be flexible.

In Belleville , there's an area filled with bamboos. I love sitting under there to listen to the sound of the rustling leaves.