In our gallivanting the other day, we came upon a striking eucalyptus tree, standing immensely tall and alone in Ray Blank park. When I say alone, I mean alone of its kind. There were other trees around and even another type of eucalyptus but I couldn’t see, during our brief stop, another one like this one.
I am not enamoured of gum trees. In fact, I have been wary ,and deeply suspicious, of them ever since a big gum, suddenly and, seemingly inexplicably, came crashing down on to the back yard of my childhood home. But, I thought this tree, with its silky smooth, pearly gray bark was worthy of a second glance. It was a big, superbly healthy and beautifully shaped specimen
but it seemed so lonesome, so solitary; so needy of second glances.
Do trees get lonely? Animals and humans need, and thrive on, companionship. Is it the same with trees? Possibly, for we are all Beings. We, The Beings, may be educated, cultivated, integrated, adapted, adjusted, transported, transposed, uprooted, replanted, codified, modified, mollified, nourished, cherished and made better off, sub divided and classified, but our fundamental desire is to be; to be alongside; to be with and to be held within our own group, gatherings, kind, family or tribe. We want to be where we belong; where we are not alone of a kind.
In its natural habitat, the gum tree grows among many. Undoubtedly, this fine, isolated specimen at Ray Blank park is currently in a much happier place than its relatives across the ditch (The Tasman Sea) who are experiencing the horrors of fire and brimstone. But does it miss, deep in its core, the feathery touch of leaf against leaf, branch on bark, the familiar perfume of fellow beings on the breeze? Who knows but the tree? It may be superlatively pleased with its solitary existence; ruler of all it surveys. Pleased to be without irritating neighbours and nibbling, scratching wildlife.
But, inspired by the spirit of creaturely communion, I offered my companionship. I stood close by, lightly caressed the smooth bark and let our breaths mingle. For me, it felt like a moment of togtherness. Eucalyptus smells good. I hope I didn’t smell too weirdly and off-puttingly human! On reflection, we share the same water source so our essential odours are, perhaps, not too dissimilar.
They reminded me of images of Australia. They seemed to confirm how deeply imprinted are our roots. ( Sorry; it can’t be helped. Incorrigibility runs in the family.)