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Exquisite containers...with a twist!

19 Jun '14

Lessons from a Kassod Tree

Posted by Lanchi Vo

Pheasant Wood (Senna siamea) is an interesting timber from the tropic. Here, it is occasionally available from Hawaiian specialty wood vendors. It got it's name due to the shimmering grain that look like pheasant feather.

I have never seen a pheasant up close, so I don't know how good is the resemblance.  The pattern of this wood is, nevertheless, pleasing. 

The tree is also known as Kassod, a beautiful ornamental with panicles of bright yellow flowers. There was a nice Kassod tree in the front yard of my childhood house. I used to hate it because of an unfortunate incident. 

This was what happened: My auntie brought a small Kassod tree home one day, cleared out the flower bed and planted it there. She did not realize that amongst the things she cleared out of that bed was my beloved tomato plant. 

I was so proud of that tomato plant. It was the very first thing that I had ever planted.  It already had four flower buds...and I was six years old...     

Of course, I cried buckets when I saw what happened. My auntie felt so sorry, she went out under the heavy rain, dug out the tattered tomato from a pile of trash and tried to re-plant it in a pot. But it was too late. Oh, I still remember that sense of helplessness while facing the irreversible. 

So, I held a grudge against the Kassod. I secretly nipped off a few of it's young shoots, cut off some flower buds, ripped off its leaves...without realizing that I just helped it grew stronger and bushier with my "pruning". A few months later, I forgave the tree. My six years old heart wasn't yet robust enough to hold a heavy grudge for long. 

By the time I left that house, the tree was way taller than I was, covered with blooms most of the time. From that Kassod tree, I learned my first lessons about loss, resentment, revenge, and forgiveness.

 Pheasantwood bowl