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August 05, 2017

Hiroshima Ginkgo trees by Ariel Dorfman in The New York Times


"The whispering leaves of the Hiroshima Ginkgo trees" by Ariel Dorfman in The New York Times:

 "On Aug. 6, 1945, a 14-year-old schoolboy named Akihiro Takahashi was knocked unconscious by a deafening roar and a flash of blinding light. When he awoke, he found that he had been thrown many yards by the detonation of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. He had survived......
I met Mr. Takahashi in 1984, when he was the director of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.....“You must see the hibakujumoku, the survivor trees,” he said to me...... “You must see the ginkgos.”......
The ginkgo, I learned, was an expert in survival.......Within days of the explosion they had sprouted new greenery...The ginkgos, Mr. Takahashi said, expressed  the endurance of hope, the need for peace and reconciliation.....
Decades later, we purchased two specimens and paid to have them planted along the street we live on, and we persuaded the city forestry department to plant a third nearby.....I watered these miraculous trees every day and greeted them each morning......
Though our particular trees are safe, I am haunted by deeper, more ominous thoughts about how this great survivor now seems threatened by the depredations of modernity....
How paradoxical, how sad, how stupid, it would be if...... we did not understand that warning from the past, that call to the future, what the gentle leaves of the ginkgo trees are still trying to tell us."

Read full piece in The New York Times of August 4, 2017.

More info and photos of the Hiroshima Ginkgo trees on my website.

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