The more time I spend with the tree, the more I seem to spend my time thinking about trees. It’s my obsession, and for whatever reason I find the sight of a fallen tree enchants me, it’s a macabre attraction. I try and sit with it sometimes to understand what is so beautiful about the roots and seeing the earth, its like a window opened to the centre of the world.
One internal dialogue goes, ‘you’re a bounty hunter, hungry to make the most of another’s mis-fortune’ another says ‘you’re from a thrifty family, you make the most of all that is given’ and yet another ‘just take it, its free’. There’s part of me that see’s the ‘permission’ given if it’s fallen, and the excitement of what might be salvaged. There is also the greed that emerges, wanting to make sure that I have more than enough before I share it with anyone.
At other times it is about the incredible respect that I feel, when confronted by the force of nature. A massive tree uprooted, a tree that has stood for years, perhaps hundreds of years, suddenly falls over, like an old man stumbling on his walking stick, unable to get up again. Who knows maybe it just reached its time, or does it know about global warming and habitat destruction and want to control its own destiny.
There’s also the opportunity to see what is in the canopy, the vines and other plant life that occupies this space. There’s a sense of urgency at the opportunity that has presented, and not to waste the gifts. Including the leaves, an abundance of leaves, the excitement of enough leaves to make a massive dye pot. One for now and some for later. There’s also thoughts of how to show respect for the fallen, how can I make sure that this tree was laid to rest and acknowledged, properly. So many layers to seeing and working with fallen trees.
I’m beginning to look more closely as I walk, not just at the obvious, now I’m also starting to see what isn’t there. A fantastic book “The Biggest Estate on Earth” highlighted how to read the space around the trees, the gaps… that show what’s not there now. I’m also constantly referring back to “Dark Emu” as a reference for being able to understand the structure of the habitats and the plants.
The Biggest Estate on Earth by Bill Gammage
Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe