Archives: children

Mourning trees

At risk of being outed as a tragic old hippy, I’m mourning a tree. Again.

This tree-mourning, I’ve only just realised it even happens. This time, this tree. It wasn’t even a significant tree, or a pretty tree, or even my tree. Just a big, old tree.

My neighbours, I like them, and I think they thought I’d be happy to see it go. Its absence would impress real estate-y types. Our outlook has been, they would say, enhanced. The aspect to the north-east has opened substantially with the tree’s departure. Property values probably up up up. Whoopee.

It was an old pecan, too tall for us to reach any nuts (but the cockatoos could). Some of it was dead, but not all. And when the branches were all stacked on the truck on Saturday, when they were cut and stacked to be taken away, you could see all its little spring buds ready to burst. As it transpires, never to open, but ready anyway. As a deciduous tree, it did us all a favour, keeping a few houses in a row cooler in summer and letting winter sun through.

It’s not the first tree felling to make me sad, but I’ve only just named these individual sadnesses as actual mourning. The old fig up the coast at my folks’ house, the one that cooled and protected a garden and homed birds and bugs and green tree snakes… whole bloody communities of critters. Cut down by its “owner”, and we’re not quite sure why. It’s hot up there now, in that yard.

The common mango in my street.

The big old school fig, 120+ years old, lost in a storm; the same storm took some of the figs down near the river, including the one with the secret cave that my boys and their friends liked to hide in.

The leopard tree at the house I grew up in, planted by one of the first families in the area, maybe the first exotic in Sherwood. I used to look out my bedroom window and watch kingfishers nest in its fork, as a teenager.

The 60-year-old magnolia we lost in a drought.

The 80-year-old banksia, the ancient melealuca, and every other single tree on the block of a house in Yaroomba, cleared for an architect’s ugly folly. (The neighbour’s son used to play on the footpath; it was the only land spare.)

When these big trees go, it’s rare that anyone checks them for nests first, and this makes me sad, too.

Bloody hippy.

 

Sunshine

Sincerely I promise this will not morph into a mummyblog. Eeek.

But there’s a time to recognise unexpected gifts that my kids give me, and nod at the pile of things I am thankful for. Number one, or close to it, is the current moment. The Now. Man, I’ve practiced yoga since 1996, and didn’t come anywhere near understanding how to live wholly in a moment until I met my sons.

With them, I cheat the march of time. Young kids give you a ‘now’. Hang out, and seconds hover somewhere near the top of the playground swings, if you let them.

The other morning was one of those moments that you stop, live in, and try to absorb so you can keep every aspect alive.

A six-year-old home with the sniffles and his dad, deliberately late for work, playing backgammon.

From the north, late-autumn morning sun drenching the back deck.

Sunlight halo around a little head; sunlight shining behind a big boofy bloke head, and moustache, and stubble. The sun polishes the flakes of white paint peeling from a wicker chair, makes precious the jaded.

Our stingless bees — they’re tropical, and don’t get out of bed for less than 16 degrees Celsius —  just waking up, lethargic, stretching black legs in the sun.

The deck, cuddled by tropical birch trees: quarter-leaved, occasional flaps of bronze and gold dropping from the twigs beside us.

Steam in a teacup.

Ugh boots on a sunny daybed.

Two sets of giggles, and time stopped.

Back to top