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[don't kid yourself]
[talk to me]




    > 2002





<!-- April 18, 2003 -->

The Blue Mountains, so called, they say, for the eucalyptus mist arising from the trees covering most of the area, is a magical point of beauty. One that holds a story of truth for me.

Passing the groves of burnt eucalyptus, my Aussie family tells me the amazing story of these resilient trees. As the magnificent blue sky filters bright sunshine through the blackened branches, the first small green shoots of leaves struggle out from the trunks of the trees.

The trees depend on the fires for survival, actually. They are the only vegetation that survives the heat of the wildfires that inevitably surge through the area in the summer months (like the one here last Christmas). As the every other plant burns, and even as the eucalyptus leaves burn away and the trunks blacken, still the interior of the trunk remains protected.

No longer competing for precious resources, the eucalyptus regenerates quickly and dominates the regrowth area. Conserving energy, it quickly sends out the first shoots of green close along the trunk. The trees take on a comical look of bare, blackened branches and thick green leafy trunks, like a bushy head of close, curly hair on an otherwise bald body.

Without the fire, the eucalyptus would, over time, lose the competition for scarce resources in nature and slowly die off.

There are other species of plants that rely on the fires, they tell me, to open their seed pods. They lie dormant until an intense heat bursts the seed pod and the plant is set free.

And now I'm smiling at the dark clouds on the horizon, a sharp contrast to the startling blue and sunshine now overhead. I know it doesn't matter. They haven't had rain in months and it's been raining almost constantly for the past week. I should be praising the rain. But I know it doesn't matter what I do; nature will go its way and do what's best, with no regard for my ethics or preferences.

And I'm smiling because I've realized that life is just like that.

It goes along and bad things -- seemingly bad things -- happen. But it's all for a reason. It's all for a chance to grown another aspect that's been neglected.

I'm here -- as far from everything as I can get, really. I've burned away the undergrowth, the other trees and bushes and chased all the animals away. I've cleared everything away so that I could start fresh. And that was the only way I could grow that part of me that needed it.

I could have grown in a different direction, to try to catch that ray of sunlight over there. I could have stretched my roots an extra yard to reach that bit of water and I'd have been sustained a while longer.

But I took the chance and steeled myself against the heat of the fire, knowing that when it was over it would be my time to thrive. I've kept my roots (my experience, my ties to the people I love) and I'm putting out my first few tentative green shoots.

There will be beautiful days of sunshine and miserable days of rain and they will both nourish me, though I may not be pleased with the timing.

Now, does that mean that everyone needs to do this? No, not everyone is me. Some trees thrive quite well without the fire, thanks. But, if they ARE choking in the undergrowth, maybe they shouldn't fear the fire, afterall. And maybe one day, they'll be bumping along a country backroad that everyone here accepts as a highway and realize that they're a eucalyptus, too

Other April 18th entries:
About the Blue Mtns

my journal

my lack of digital camera

Listening to:
Aussie radio

Other April 18th entries:
About the Blue Mtns