Jan

6

A BIRTHDAY AND A RATHER SAD ANNIVERSARY.

Hi everybody,

First of all I would like to wish for you all  : A very Happy New Year!!!!

On the 3Th of this January I celebrated my 49 birthday, well celebrated…more wend trough. No party or visitors, just laying on the sofa watching TV, just like I have been doing for the last months now! And, as my surgeon told me, I have to lay and wait at least a other 6 weeks and hope and pray that things will get any better during that time. He, like me, is very surprised and disappointed that my surgery is goosing me so much more trouble and pain, instead of relieving or healing the problems! So you can imagine that there was not much reason for celebrating for me. That was particularity sad because this birthday also marked my 20Th anniversary in Bonsai! Exactly 20 years ago my wife bought me a little Ulmus for my Birthday that started my adventures in Bonsai! This wonderful gift turned out to be a big turning point in my life and since than, Bonsai has been the main driving force in my life! Today, 20 years later, I sadly have to admit that I feel I reached a other big turning point in my live! I have been suffering from lower back pains and discomfort for more than a decade now, but was always able to walk, work or train it off. But that became harder and harder to do. The amount of painkillers I had to swallow during the last couple of years, just to get trough the day, had grown way out of hand, so this back operation was my big change to carry on living in a more doable way, with out having to be doped up most of the time. My lower back problems have over the last 5 to 6 years slowly forced me to give up weightlifting and other sports that I had been doing most of my adult live, this was not only a blow to my system, but it also left me very depressed. My night job and second love, being a D.J in clubs, kept me happy and in shape for a few years. So I was able to more or less get to grips with the fact that serious sports were a thing of the past. And off course, in the day time and even while I was a sleep, there always was Bonsai!  But those long club night’s started to slowly take there toll on my body as well and playing music from 10 in the evening until 6 in the morning  started to be a real struggle and less enjoyable. So eventually, because of the worsening back problems, I had to let go off my second big love. My DJing night were over! So at that point in time Bonsai became my only way to escape, to express my self and to relax. But also something to pursuit and accomplish. Full Hearted and stubborn, as with every thing I do! And even this goal has become harder and harder to achieve! I havend been able to go out and collect for 4 years now, and beside missing out on all the traveling fun and walking trough the wonderful mountain alps and the adventure of the yamadori search, this also means 4 years of no new material for me to work on. And that is a major setback to a Bonsai artist like me, that only likes to work on raw material that preferably is collected by himself. If you take in account that were I live, it takes at least 8 to 10 years to more or less finish a reasonable Bonsai, you can understand that every year with out a newly started projects is a big loss. Remember, I only make 2 or 3 serious pre bonsai in a year, there is no mass production in my work, so to built up a collection of more or less finished bonsai will take a long long time! No material also means, that I am stuck with a million idea and no real material to work  them out on. Like I once before sad: bonsai, as a medium, is pretty useless as a way for instance release of ones creativity. I have been lucky enough that 2 years ago I was invited to work in the U.S.A., that was my last real bonsai adventure and it took me weeks to recover from it.  Finally last year moving around and even normal light bonsai work become almost undo able for me, so I had to cancel or say no to most of the real fun things that I had worked for for so long. Among them were a few collecting invitations and possible workshops and demo’s in  America, Australia, U.K, Denmark and other countries. And my plains of finally starting workshop from my own garden had to be shifted to the future. In Jan 2009 I found a great specialist in Belgium, who after several long trips up and down to Belgium, told me that my problems might be solved with a new kind of operation that the preformed there. I was over the moon! Only to find out that my insurance company would not pay for this kind of “new” operation techniques! Even with the help of several good doctors behind me, I was not able to change their mind into my favour. So the rest of 2009 was spent visiting several hospitals in Holland to find a other solution to my back problems. It was my wife, who discovered on the web, a clinic in Nijmegen (Holland) that preformed the same kind of operating technique as the once in Belgium had planed for me. But in this case, the found a way so my insurance would pay for it. So I finally ended up with this specialist that in September preformed this  pretty new way of surgery on my lower back. If all would have gone well, I would have been more or less pain free in a mount or so, if not, like in my case, they just dont know! So instead of pain free, my problems have multiplied and that is hard to swallow! If in the next 6 weeks my situation those not improve, they might even have to take those two implants out off my back again! And than I have to hope and pray that my lower back falls in to its old place again! If not? Who knows? So now I stand before the difficult task of adjusting my bonsai goals and ambitions to this new situation. How that will end, I dont know yet?! But I lost to much time already and there is not much hope on catching up soon, so I think that to avoid any more disappointments, I have to be realistic about it!  I will miss working with other enthusiast around the world, but I will always be doing bonsai, but on a smaller scale. And luckily there still is the pleasure of having to work and finish a lot of my present trees into good Bonsai. I still want to make a point, dont I? 🙂 But I guess, that like with my trees, I will have to make my goals a lot smaller.  We will see! 🙂

So for my birthday, I bought my self a nice Nikon camera and 2 extra lenses! I love to walk trough nature to discover places of beauty to capture on film.  And because these pictures give me instant results, they are, for now, a brilliant solution to still my creativity hunger! The picture below is one of the first pictures I made with my new camera! It is taken a five minute walk away from my home on a snow covered beach!

After a 30 years break from it, I even bought all the stuff to start to make pencil drawings again. But up to now, I have not been able to actually start any drawing! I cant be bothered to do much of anything lately, but that will change as soon as I have made one or two! I still have that lovely habit of trying to improve my self . 🙂

 3-1-2010 056 Hans van meer 2 web

So my dear bonsai friends, it all looks a bit gloomy for now and all I can do is wait for what the future has in store for me. I will keep you informed, thanks for all your well wishes and for listening!

Regards,

Hans.

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 Comments

14 Responses to A BIRTHDAY AND A RATHER SAD ANNIVERSARY.

  1. Harinakshi Mistry says:

    Hi, I am Harinakshi from India -still a baby in the bonsai world. I am a part of the IndoJapanese Bonsai study group headed by Jyoti and Nikunj Parekh. I read what u have written and I feel sad but look at the photo u have taken. see the bright sun peeping at u from behind the tree. Well u r gonna be fine and I wish u a speedy recovery and a cheerful and healthy 2010. I wish u to go again to collect yamadori and – Belated Happy Birthday.

  2. Graham says:

    Hi Hans,
    Not sure where to start having not been in your situation before. However although we’ve never meet, I can really feel your pain through the words in your post.
    I do have a very close friend that had lower back surgery and like you he was down and out for longer than predicted ….so I can somewhat relate to your situation. It took my friend a long time to adjust to a more restrict lifestyle but like he said, he can’t do the sports he loved but “I’m alive and has lots to look forward too”.
    I know that things seem like doom and gloom right now and it may seem that a full recovery isn’t possible but don’t give up…….and look at all the positive things that you have and can do….. focus on that and at making small steps to recovery.
    You might have to do shohin size bonsai to help your back?.
    I’m sure I speak for many others in saying that we all wish you the very best, hang in there, keep taking pictures and get drawing again…..see the silver lining around the grey clouds……
    Cheers Graham

  3. Tom Brown says:

    Hans, My friend I can’t tell you how badly I feel for you. Knowing your love for life and activity this must be a very bitter pill to swallow.

    The one thing I am sure of is that you have the strength mentally and spiritually to get through this and tough it out till the outcome is revealed.

    Your time here in the US was a great one. Glad you have that happy memory to reflect back on. Perhaps it may have been easier to recover from if we had not worked 18 hours a day. =o)

    Your in my thoughts and hope this all will sort itself out. If there is anything I can do, even though I am far way, let me know.

    Cheers, Tom

  4. Hans.

    And I wondered why I had not seen you active – and now it’s clear. I subscribe to your blogs and has seen nothing for a while.

    I wish you all the best in your recovery.

    Beste wensen
    http://blogimages.seniorennet.be/oudvandag/52-e1b304c390e03f924f050a572dbc4a45.jpg

  5. Emil, Sweden says:

    Get better soon Hans!!!

    Best Regards
    Emil, Sweden

  6. dirk says:

    Sad story, I hope it ends well. Veel sterkte!

  7. dirk says:

    Sad story, I hope it ends well. Veel sterkte!

  8. Morten Albek says:

    My friend Hans

    I am so sorry to hear about your big bag troubles. I really do hope you will recover soon, so you can be able to take up your daily life and bonsai hobby as before.

    All the best wishes possible.

    Morten

  9. Morten Albek says:

    My friend Hans

    I am so sorry to hear about your big bag troubles. I really do hope you will recover soon, so you can be able to take up your daily life and bonsai hobby as before.

    All the best wishes possible.

    Morten

  10. Cees says:

    Sure life can be a bitch and believe me I know.
    Just don’t give up there is a light on the end off every tunnel.

    Good luck,
    Cees.

  11. Andy Pearson says:

    Hans

    Happy New Year, Happy belated bithday, Happy belated Bonsai Anniversary.
    Wishing you a speedy recovery and prey that you are on your feet and back to health very very soon

    All the best my friend

    Andy

  12. Andy Pearson says:

    Hans

    Happy New Year, Happy belated bithday, Happy belated Bonsai Anniversary.
    Wishing you a speedy recovery and prey that you are on your feet and back to health very very soon

    All the best my friend

    Andy

  13. Si Van Nguyen says:

    Dear Hans, we missed you on BonsaiTalk. But now BonsaiTalk is no more. This situation of yours is very sad. I feel for you, because I have had much troubles with back pain for many years too. I had herniated discs on lumbar levels L3 and L4 and some nerve damage 10 years ago. I did not have surgery though, despite strong recommendations from my doctors. As a medical doctor myself, I knew the risks of surgery. But no matter what happenned, have faith in your doctors. I am sure they are doing the best of care. Sometimes it does take longer than expected to heal, but it will heal, and you will be fine again. The things that helped me the most were losing weight, hanging upside down(inversion), mild exercise, accupuncture, and doing bonsai. Laying down flat for a long time to rest was actually not good for me. Sun exposure while doing bonsai is very good too, especially for Vitamin D metabolism which is very helpful for the healing process.
    Please don’t give up on bonsai, even if all you could do now is to draw. You are too talented to stop doing bonsai. Come back to the many internet bonsai forums and stay in touch with your friends from around the world. You are blessed to have so many friends from all around this great world. Don’t forget them. Their thoughts and prayers are important to your recovery also.
    I wish you a complete and speedy recovery and many years of yamadori collecting to come.
    With warm regards,
    Si Van Nguyen, Lake Forest, California, USA

  14. Si Van Nguyen says:

    Dear Hans, we missed you on BonsaiTalk. But now BonsaiTalk is no more. This situation of yours is very sad. I feel for you, because I have had much troubles with back pain for many years too. I had herniated discs on lumbar levels L3 and L4 and some nerve damage 10 years ago. I did not have surgery though, despite strong recommendations from my doctors. As a medical doctor myself, I knew the risks of surgery. But no matter what happenned, have faith in your doctors. I am sure they are doing the best of care. Sometimes it does take longer than expected to heal, but it will heal, and you will be fine again. The things that helped me the most were losing weight, hanging upside down(inversion), mild exercise, accupuncture, and doing bonsai. Laying down flat for a long time to rest was actually not good for me. Sun exposure while doing bonsai is very good too, especially for Vitamin D metabolism which is very helpful for the healing process.
    Please don’t give up on bonsai, even if all you could do now is to draw. You are too talented to stop doing bonsai. Come back to the many internet bonsai forums and stay in touch with your friends from around the world. You are blessed to have so many friends from all around this great world. Don’t forget them. Their thoughts and prayers are important to your recovery also.
    I wish you a complete and speedy recovery and many years of yamadori collecting to come.
    With warm regards,
    Si Van Nguyen, Lake Forest, California, USA

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