And there it stood: the living fossil. A tree of a kind that is older than the dinosaurs, and the kind that even survived the Hiroshima atom bomb blast. A tree species does not live to become over 200 million years old without extraordinary resilience. Standing in the shower of golden fan-shaped leaves I marveled how age and survival does not mean one necessarily loses one’s beauty. The gingko tree is the poster queen of anti-aging. Many consider it to have medicinal qualities, but for me the marvel is in how the gingko has time-traveled and replaced grazing dinosaurs with a planet filled with humans – and without losing a single quality that makes it so extraordinarily beautiful.
Yet how sad it is to think that a tree does not live to become 200 million years old without losing all its relatives. There is no tree like the ginkgo in the world today. Survival and longevity ultimately also mean loneliness. What ever may happen to our world in the future, I do hope the ginkgo will not be the last tree standing.
(Montreux, Switzerland; November 2014)