Monday, January 4, 2016

A walk...and first work of the new year.

While much of the rest of the country has been sweltering, fighting terrible fires, and surviving drought, it's been cooler here, and even a little wet.  Though here too, on the wet south coast among the dripping Karri forests, the climate is changing, becoming hotter, dryer.  The long time locals tell us that once, you could be sure of rain in summer, and that rain water tanks would overflow every winter.  Not so now.

But on a cool morning in the last days of the year, I went for an early ramble along the firebreak that surrounds this old estate.  It's a lovely walk, and I regret that I haven't walked here more often, as we get closer to moving into our shed/house.  We'll not be far away, just over the hill and up the road, but too far to walk along here.  There is a beautiful tree at the bottom corner, a Karri with a hollowed heart and I can imagine a dryad, or perhaps Merlin, curled into its base.  It's got quite a lean on it, so will come down eventually in a storm, across the firebreak, and will need to be chainsawed into chunks and taken away to leave the way clear for the firetrucks.  But for now, it stands, and sometimes I want to curl myself into its hollow and sleep, dreaming of deep roots and branches reaching higher than it seems possible.

Looking down the firebreak.

And back up.

At the bottom, the path to the left, which heads off onto private property...though I've wandered up a little way in the past.

The Karri with the hollowed heart.

One day she will come down, but not today.

The path to the right, the one I follow.

The farm next door.  A new veggie garden planted.  They sell their produce at a stall just up the road. An honesty system.  Beautiful veg, just down the road, what more do you need?

I once saw a fox running across this field, as big as a dog.  I thought it was Flynn.

I love this view, the tree ahead framed in the centre.  Like a gateway leading somewhere altogether different.

These giant sentinels reach up and up and over.  These ones are quite young.  A mature Karri can reach 90 metres.

Then suddenly there is a small pine plantation.  A reminder of another land, another entire hemisphere.

The path leads on, neighbour's property on one side, pine forest on the other.

Looking back.

Then I came upon this.  A reminder that, as stunningly beautiful as they are, it's not a good idea to build a house right underneath a Karri.  They do just suddenly drop branches...big branches...without warning.

Jewelled treasures.

Wet Karri bark.  There is no colour quite like it.  I keep bringing bits home because I'm utterly beguiled by the colour, but they fade as they dry.

Seed pod.

After rain, the leaves shine with almost luminescent tones.  I spend a lot of time head down and bum up looking at the marvellous colours nature has so carelessly scattered over the ground, each one a semi precious gem.

And so I come back to my desk and try and recreate them.  My old visual diary, which started to fall apart after Flynn decided to chew the spine years ago, has been dragged out, repaired, and after nothing new for 5 years, now a new page, a new day, a new year.  Part 2 - Denmark.  I think I'd better try and use it a bit more often, poor thing.  I started it 10 years ago, and am only half way through.  Perhaps I should set myself a challenge...see if I can fill the other half in this next year.

If you're wondering what the words in the background are, they're the lyrics of a Vashti Bunyan song, "Window Over The Bay".  I used to listen to her Diamond Day album over and over when I lived in the city, trying to block out the sounds of planes and traffic, and dreaming of my own place far from the madding crowd.  I hadn't listened to it in ages and I put it on the other day.  And as I listened to this song, it occurred to me that I either have, or soon will have, almost everything in this song (even if the horses are actually next door!), or a very close substitute (rain water for well water).  It made my day.  So have a listen.

And a final, and very bad (apologies) photo of some of the cheeky little fellows who hang out on our deck.  They'll hop up right next to you as you're sitting there, but just try and get a close-up pic of them!

So, I wish everyone a wonderful new year.  I hope with all my heart it comes with glad tidings, and hopeful news for a better world.


Mo Crow said...

what a beautiful walk, thank you for sharing!

Ms. said...

May your half empty book be filled and may all the days of this new year overflow with beauty. May our whole world find the harmony it so needs and the lion lay down with the lamb. (I love Vashti)

Lunar Hine said...

I have been so busy gestating it has been a long time since I visited blogland, but your post has reminded me why I come here. And that beautiful hollowed tree reminded me of the stunning sculptures created by Shaping Spirit:
All love to you and yours this year and for all time x

Anonymous said...

Nice post. Reading about your Karri tree (are they like Kauri trees in New Zealand?) made me think of this poem by Mary Oliver.

Sleeping In The Forest

I thought the earth remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling
with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

- Mary Oliver

A mermaid in the attic said...

Mo, Ms, Lunar and Mocking Bird, lovely to hear from you all. I checked out Shaping Spirit, Lunar. Wow, so very beautiful. Mocking Bird, Karris are quite a different tree from Kauris (I've just been and looked them up, so I've learnt something new today!). Karris are a member of the Eucalyptus family, and are among the tallest trees in the world, growing to over 80 metres tall. They truly are an awe inspiring tree. And MO's poem is so gorgeous and resonates so very much with me, I haven't heard that one before, thank you for introducing me to it.

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