All of the trees on hand looked picked over, stunned and stunted with September heat, all but one grouping. It was a type of Japanese Maple we’d never seen before: Sumi Nagashi. Yes, they were expensive with large root balls in twenty-gallon containers. And beautifully pruned, with just the multi-trunk bodies we’d envisioned for our tree. Some local designer who used them with delight had ordered them in, and then the economy trembled.
At home, I looked up Sumi Nagashi on Google. Lo and behold, the tree gets its name from the delicate art of Japanese paper marbling. Translated literally, Sumi Nagashi means "floating ink." You’ve heard of Sumi-e ink? Well, swirl colored ink in water and lay paper onto the patterns you create, and you have Sumi Nagashi. (I may have left out a few details and centuries of mastery!) The Japanese art of paper marbling is the oldest on the planet. I remember admiring books from Japan with marbled paper when I was a kid. We owned a few. I took one to "show and tell" in third grade. The fascination was strong then as now.
The naming of our tree after this art bodes well for us next spring! The delicacy we intuited in the young tree we chose won’t just fill a blank space in our garden. It will magnetize energy. Announce and welcome the beauty of the natural world. Which is the world that we all love, know it or not. Honor it or not. Admit it into our deepest knowing or forget our generous birthright.
Trees are a form of love that beggars words. And still we try.
Special thanks to The Garden at honeybrook house cottage for the lovely tree photo!