There had been great anticipation inside the hearts of the couple who, one day, gave birth to twin girls.  Their efforts to continue in love, the image of themselves, perhaps embodied in the personality of another, rejoiced in their gift, multiplied by two.

As the girls grew, the parents became suspicious of the twins.  They had been taught how twins are alike; how they look the same, feel the same, act the same, and engage in the same practices of play and preference.  These twins, their precious double gift, were not alike.

The first girl was just like her parents.  Even at the youthful age of 11, she reflected her father’s talent in the fine art of baking.  In school, she outshone her peers in mathematics, just like her studious mother.  This child was talkative, outgoing, and loved to be the center of attention.  She was the best of both her parents.

The second girl was different from her twin.  She did not reflect her parent’s talents, and, in fact, struggled to find her own talents.  She was not a Baker, or a Mathematician, but was fascinated with trees.  Every day, she would return home covered in dirt from digging up saplings, and planting them in small pots on the back porch.  Afterwards, she would spend hours talking to them, singing to them, and pruning them.  This child hardly ever spoke to others, but loved to talk to her trees, and about her trees.

Frustrated that the twins were not alike, the parents took the children to town to seek help.  They wanted to know what was wrong with the second girl.  First, they visited the town Physician. The doctor checked the girls from top to bottom.  Brilliant, but limited only to the teachings of medicine, the doctor said,

“I see your second child is different than your first child, but I cannot find anything wrong with her health.  Perhaps she should be on a different diet.”

And with that, the parents were given instructions on a new diet for the second child.

Weeks passed, and the second child remained unlike the first.  So, the parent’s took the children to the town Psychologist.  The Psychologist checked the girls from hemisphere to neuron.  Brilliant, but limited only to the teachings of the mind, the Psychologist said,

“I see your second child is different than your first child, but I cannot find anything wrong with her mind.  Perhaps she should be in a different class, for people who are different, where she can learn to fit in.”

And with that, the parents sent the second child to a different class.

Weeks passed, and the second child remained unlike the first.  Frustrated, and out of places to take the child, the parent’s returned to town, looking for answers in anyone they could find.  As they walked through town, asking the towns people questions, the second child pulls at her mother’s hand.  Reluctant to go, but wanting to avoid a scene, the parent’s follow the second child into a small, secluded shop of the town flower shop.

The shop was filled with hundreds of tiny trees in pots, just like the second child enjoyed.  The parent’s had never seen this before and were truly awestruck by the tiny forest before them.  Miniature Maples, Pines, and fruit trees were organized neatly into little gatherings, and accented with tiny buildings.  A small model train weaved in and out of the little landscape.  This was unlike most miniature villages, made of synthetic materials.  This was a landscape of living trees, real wood houses, and miniature flowering bushes.  It was as if the town were awaiting real, miniature people.

As they rounded to the back of the store, a man sit trimming one of his little trees.  He was calm, happy, and welcoming.  He looked up from his work, and smiled.  The parents, doused in shock, muttered out their question.

“What is it that you are doing?”  The mother asks.

“I am pruning my tree using the art of Bonsai.”

“Bonsai?”

“Yes.  It is an ancient art form of growing and pruning real trees to grow in containers.”

“You mean, you train the trees to grow how you want?  Well, then, maybe you can help.  My second child is supposed to be a twin.  But she is different from the first.  I have been searching for the way to make her the same as the first, but no one has been able to give us a way that works.” the mother explained.

“Which one is different?”

“The one unlike her parents.  The one unlike her twin.  The one who obsesses over tiny trees, like you.”

“Ahh, I see.  So you have come here, seen my obsession of tiny trees and hope that I have the answer.  Hoping, I have the way to make your second child not seem different.”

“Yes, exactly.”

Without warning, the Bonsai Master steps behind a wooden louvered door.  Minutes roll by, and the parent’s begin to fear that they have offended the man.  Just as they are ready to give up and leave, the Bonsai master returns with a pair of scissors, and lays them on the counter in front of the parents.

“This will solve your problem.  These are special scissors designed for trimming Bonsai Trees.”

“Oh, I see.  You want me to give these to my second child so she can learn, through the art of Bonsai, how to train herself to be like us.”

“No,”  answers the Bonsai Master, “the scissors are for you.”

“For me?”

“I prune the trees to realize their full potential, even when their space is limited.  The tree trains me.  I learn from the tree, and the tree benefits from my hard work.  But, not all Bonsai are the same, and this is good.  It makes for a more interesting forest.  You must learn from the tree.  You must see the tree as the child.  You must prune the child to realize her full potential, even when her world is limited.  The child trains you.  You learn from the child, and the child benefits from your hard work.  But, not all children are the same, and this is good.  It makes for a more interesting world.”

“And this will fix my child?”

“This will fix your view of your child, and she will no longer seem broken.”

-LN

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