Finding A Forest in Town: Remembering Gingko Biloba by Paula Kaiman
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There’s an old street downtown through which once ran a trolley, in
the bustle of days gone by. Faded Federal and Victorian houses still crowd in on each side. A constant flux of cars and people help keep its pulsebeat alive. At the center of this artery, atop a gentle incline, stands a magnificent Gingko. It seems to carry the secrets of a sacred, primeval forest.
Gingko is prized for its fan-shaped leaves and deep yellow autumn foliage, which may drop all at once within one to two hours—a spectacle of sight and sound as leaves rain down to the ground. To stand amidst the “Gingko Rain,” and catch a falling leaf, is said to bring good luck!
Also known as “Maidenhair Tree,” due to leaves reminiscent of Maidenhair Fern, Gingko is a living fossil and unique species of tree with no living relatives. More than two hundred million years old, it represents long life and memory. Native to Asia, the trees that survived Hiroshima (where all else died), though charred, became healthy again and remain alive to this day. Deeply rooted, preferring a well-watered, well-drained site—along with plentiful sunshine—they seem to embody our journey from beings of water to beings of light.
The tree pictured here fronts an estate built around 1830. A male tree (only the females bear fruit), with a fourfold trunk at its eastern face, it rises in vigor and might. Triumvirate from the western perspective, and broad of girth at twenty feet around, this “Gingko Maiden” is both Mother and Grandmother, besides. A reflection of the feminine, whose many-fingered branches weave a story to the sky. What affairs live on in her memoir? How much life, witnessed, passed by? I wonder how many look up in the spring…in autumn, how many gaze down…at the marvels of a regal, lone-tree forest in the former hub of my little town. [contact-form][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Website' type='url'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]