Imagine a train hurtling towards you. It’s a hundred metres away, close enough to hear the hum of the engine and the rattle of the tracks. You’ve been told what you need to do. You’ve been given four or five different ways you can avoid being struck by the train – but you don’t do any of them. Instead, you conceptualise the millions of possible realities in which being run down by a fast-moving train might not be so bad. You consider how you might pick up the shattered pieces of your body after the train obliterates you, rearranging it into something vaguely resembling what it looked like before. You know it will never look or function as it once did. But you don’t even think about stepping out of the way.Read More
From a distance, ginkgo trees are beautiful.
Their fan-shaped, lobed leaves are a sight to behold, transforming from a light, pleasant green to a brilliant yellow in the autumn. The foliage falls in waves, blanketing the ground in what is widely named ‘golden snow’. A fully grown ginkgo tree, which can grow to fifty feet in height, recalls the delicacy of a woodcut or a classical Chinese painting.
They still blossom under the hardiest and most unlikely of conditions. They are an ancient species, dating back to the Cambrian era, and they have no close surviving relatives. A tree near Chengdu is believed to have lived for more than 1,200 years. The natural hardiness of the ginkgo tree saw them survive the bombing of Hiroshima. A tree only one kilometre from the epicentre of the blast began to bud less than a month after the event, having suffered negligible damage.Read More