Monday, 14 July 2008

SPECIAL TREES




There are some things in our lives that have a kind of wordless and ephemeral meaning that it is hard to describe. One of those things for me is trees. During my years of bushwalking in the wilderness I have often been in awe of a particular tree that, for example, looms up out of the soil and disappears high into the mists, with only a whisper of its uppermost glory visible from below. Another, gnarled and aged by years of clinging tenuously to a tiny crack in a rocky cliff, can stop me in my tracks to just gaze and admire its tenacity.




Far removed from this, in my comfortable life in the suburbs, I still find some trees irresistible. One is the magnolia, some of which are just beginning to flower here. Unremarkable the rest of the year, at blossom time they become a symbol of such beauty and elegance that it takes my breath away. I don't have one in my garden.... partly because there is more joy in the desire and anticipation of one day having one - like a child waiting for Christmas, hoping they will receive a special wish. The sight of the magnificent display of a magnolia in full bloom could only be surpassed by the cradling in my hand of a single, perfect flower... and this I have never done for the same reason. It is something to imagine and look forward to in the future rather than remember in the past.....



Another special tree is a small, insignificant looking oak tree in the golf course on the other side of the road from my house. About 15 years ago I took son Hugh for a little drive into the hills one very cold autumn day, to see the colours and play in the falling autumn leaves of some beautiful trees in Stirling, in the Adelaide hills. There he collected a handful of acorns from an oak tree as well as some of the colourful leaves from other trees. We dried and pressed the leaves and have them still and we planted the acorns, one just on the other side of the fence of the golf course so it had a chance to grow with plenty of space. In the busy-ness of life we forgot all about the acorns...for years and years....until one day, standing in my vegetable garden, I suddenly thought "Look at that oak tree growing there...." and I remembered the day we had literally thrown the acorn inside the fence, into some nice soft soil there. There are no other oak trees around here anywhere...this must be the one we started! Now I love that tree and know everything it does and it is big enough to be safe and not mown down by over-enthusiastic golf-course workers! It will outlive my whole family and grow there, hopefully, for many future owners of my house to enjoy...I will take a photo of it one day.

4 comments:

Deb said...

Just imagine if the trees could talk, they would have magical tales to tell.All my favorite places revolve around a special tree. All of which inpart a different, yet special feeling that is related to the landscape.

chaiselongue said...

Yes, I feel like this about olive trees. I love them all - the old ones which have been there for centuries, slowly becoming beautifully gnarled and the young ones which will grow for hundreds of years in the future. But I have my favourites, too, the special ones. I like the idea that the young ones we've planted in our garden won't mature until long after we've gone ... leaving them for other generations.

Gavin said...

I wish trees could cry or scream so the whole world could hear the forrests weaping as humanity clears them.

From my deck I look onto two massive mana gums that are the tallest ones for miles around. The magpies nest in them in spring, and the rosellas feed from them in late summer and autumn. Even though they shade my solar panels on occasion, I wish them both a long and fruitful life for the next hundred years or so. They bring such joy to all creatures who treasure their existence including me!

Ian said...

I found a volunteer walnut tree about 8" tall the other day. I have potted it up and am looking after it whilst I find somewhere in my garden to grow something that big. Maybe when you visit in September we'll have time to plant it together, along with the cabbages - or did you say comfrey??