It's good to have hobbies, especially those that require one to slow down and think. For me, the hobby of keeping one lone Chinese Elm Bonsai tree helps me to work on the virtues most neglected in my life, silence, patience, long term diligence, and awareness. With the recent stress of balancing holiday shopping, work, graduate school, housekeeping, and a dozen other things, I had been remiss in my practice of these good qualities. And I would still be blinded to my lapses had nature not been there to remind me. Outside my window, snow dropped at a rapid pace of one to three inches an hour, and on the window sill, working at an exponentially slower pace, my bonsai was growing out of control. The wintry weather forced me to physically stay inside, but the tiny tree impelled a deeper, mental stillness.