Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gold And Silk Ribbons

On one of the streets to the south and east of the San Jose State campus someone planted a row of ginkgoes. Those trees were in those days 1967-1969 fully mature with large diameter trunks, reaching high into the sky. As is typical of ginkgoes they had a bold and splayed crown, reaching toward each other and across the street too. When the leaves dropped in fall, the yellow gold color dominated everything, and the light passing through the ginkoes would turn an ethereal shade all its own. The thing with the light tended to happen at all times of year on that street. Once when I was so in love with Katy, walking up that street something very strange happened to the light. First I loved the light, then in short order it scared me and I hurried back home. It was too real and I didn't know what it meant, except that it was meant for me. Ginkgo trees gather together and together have power.
Wiki says: Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba; also spelled gingko and known as the Maidenhair Tree, is a unique species of tree with no close living relatives. The tree is widely cultivated and introduced, since an early period in human history, and has various uses as a food and traditional medicine. The Ginkgo is a living fossil, with fossils recognizably related to modern Ginkgo from the Permian, dating back 270 million years. The most plausible ancestral group for the order Ginkgoales is the Pteridospermatophyta, also known as the "seed ferns," specifically the order Peltaspermales.

Although Ginkgo biloba and other species of the genus were once widespread throughout the world, their range shrank until by two million years ago it was restricted to a small area of China. For centuries it was thought to be extinct in the wild, but is now known to grow in at least two small areas in Zhejiang province in Eastern China, in the Tian Mu Shan Reserve. However, recent studies indicate high genetic uniformity among ginkgo trees from these areas, arguing against a natural origin of these populations and suggesting that the ginkgo trees in these areas may have been planted and preserved by Chinese monks over a period of about 1,000 years. Whether native ginkgo populations still exist has not been demonstrated unequivocally.
Where it occurs in the wild it is found infrequently in deciduous forests and valleys on acidic loess (i.e. fine, silty soil) with good drainage.

In many areas of China it has been long cultivated and it is common in the southern third of the country. It has also been commonly cultivated in North America for over 200 years, but during that time it has never become significantly naturalised.

Gold And Silk Ribbons

I had another
dream of the time long ago
we were together -
remember the place
where even the ginkgo trees
grew taller and spring
lasted half the year?

You wore gold and silk ribbons
in your shining hair.

January 27, 2010 11:15 PM


  1. a great post and super poem. thankyou. we have a ginkgo in the garden and I adore the shape and style of the leaves so I shall think of this when I'm out there with it.

  2. i love how the preface is such a delightful and almost wistful conetxt for the beautiful poem. so alive with colour and emotion.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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