Updated: Dec 21, 2019
So yesterday, I felt like I was starting to get my zen back a bit. Went for a walk, did some artwork, sat outside and watched the trees. Watched the recently returned kingfishers dart about and fed my little possum friend.
As many of you know, I live in a beautiful bushland estate - not for everyone, but it has kept me sane for the last few years. It is peaceful, a little patch of paradise in the outer burbs, with most of the original forest still standing. Down our side of the estate, closer to the creek, the forest is wet schleraphyll, with rainforest plants and trees intermingled with the large eucalypts. The thing I really love is that by some miracle, we are able to live in community with nature, part of the functioning ecosystem, and I take the responsibility of that very very seriously.
Of course, living somewhere like this implies some sacrifices that may not be everyone's cup of tea. For starters, we have every insect species known to man and then some, I reckon. You have to put up with bird (and hopefully bat) poopies on your outdoor furniture and on the car. You generally need to sacrifice your lawn for layers of leaf litter. You can't (or shouldn't) let your pets roam because they could come to harm or cause harm to the wildlife. I have found weird fungus that I never knew existed, and the constant shade encourages mould. We have ticks, many many of them. There are snakes, huge monitors and scorpions, spiders and centipedes. We of course have the mound building, garden busting ubiquitous bush turkeys. Gum trees also drop branches. As an owner of some magnificent specimens, I see it as my duty to ensure their health which requires the occasional (expensive) arborial check up.
If you are okay with all that, then when the opportunity to move in here presents itself, for people like us, its a dream come true and you grab it with both hands. But there is no mistake. Those things above are real, and if you don't like them, then for pity's sake, don't move here (or anywhere similar). If you are worried about trees dropping branches when your kids are in the yard, then don't move here. If the trees are going to stop you from wringing every drop of solar power from your panels, (and they will), and that's a problem, well then, don't move here. If you've got an issue with dropping sticks and leaves messing up your pristine garden, or you can't cope with moss or mould then DON'T MOVE HERE. Find a nice patch of treeless suburbia and live well away from that pesky thing called nature.
Yesterday, I woke to the sound of chainsaws and woodchippers. One of our neighbours apparently decided that all things considered, they did like the trees in the estate, just not most of the ones on their own block of land. I get that sometimes you have to down a tree if it is posing a problem for whatever reason or you have received permission to build a deck or a pool. But this in-discriminant clearing done by cowboy tree loppers (as opposed to arborists) just makes my blood boil and my soul bleed. No spotters for wildlife. No consideration of the community at large. Phone calls to council ('it probably does fit into exemption laws, but we'll check on it...when? Oh when we have time.' Well after the trees have become mulch). So the sickening thud of big trees hitting the ground went all day, along with the grinding of the mulcher. No doubt the shade/mould/branch dropping problems are alleviated. But my stomach is churning and my heart aches for the beautiful trees and everything that depended on them for survival. The stupid selfish people have apparently won again.