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Leaf of the Day: The Tree of Enlightenment, a BoTree Leaf

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Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Leaf of the Day: The Tree of Enlightenment, a BoTree Leaf

It is the first of April and an auspicious day for some enlightenment I think.
As well as the course last week, I managed to get to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota. It's a small, pretty botanical garden, extended from the once private house of the Selby's, sitting on the beautiful sweeping Sarasota Bay. It has a particularly nice orchid house, very good labelling and enthusiastic guides to help you. I have added to my Florida snake sightings too and have now seen the huge glowing Yellow Rat Snake which was draped over a large tree branch taking some sun. It was much brighter than the photograph here.

Rat Snake image Encarta

I could only stay for an hour so I took a few photographs but will definitely want to return. I did find the beautiful Bo tree which was at the far end of the gardens. There were plenty of fallen leaves and I felt I should gather one or two in the hopes of some much needed enlightenment rubbing off on me.
Another member of the energetic fig family, the ficus religiosa is the tree under which the Buddha was sitting when he gained enlightenment.

It's a very lovely tree and the leaves have a beautiful tapering point. (They are well known to craft people as these are the skeleton leaves that you find in hobby stores.) Bo trees are always planted near temples and they are a symbol of good luck, peace, happiness and of course enlightenment. This particular tree was blown down in tropical storm Gabrielle which hit the Gulf coast in 2001. A plaque describes how their much loved Bo was carefully and lovingly coaxed upright with the help of a fifty foot crane, replanted and revitalised. Two quotes from the Buddha on the plaque are not bad maxims for life.

"Your work is to discover your world and then, with all your heart, give yourself to it"

"I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act but I believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act"

I also didn't have time to see the exhibition of Boruca Indian Masks from Costa Rica .. so I really have to get back there before the end of April. I had seen these intricately caved masks in a fabulous Carnival exhibition in San Jose's Museum when I was in Costa Rica two years ago now. The masks are is an image from a previous exhibition. I will write more when I can get back to Sarasota.

My modest little watercolour today is just to celebrate April.. the month in England that leads up to the prettiest garden month in the year.
So a purple ( the colour of wisdom and knowledge) Bo leaf with a bit of colour theory thrown in for good measure.

The Bo Leaf

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