The Beech Tree

I have become rather enchanted by a magnificent Beech tree I saw at the Geelong Botanical Gardens on Sunday.

Since my visit the tree has been entering my dreams. On Sunday night visions of it kept waking me up. At some point during the night I began thinking about the scientist, Suzanne Simard’s research into the way trees communicate with each other in a forest and how these communications stem from a ‘Mother Tree’.

I began wondering if Botanical Gardens can be classified as forests. If such places are forests they are forests which contain trees from all over the world. Could such a diverse and hybrid forest contain a Mother Tree? In my half awake state I decided that if there is a Mother Tree in the Geelong Botanical Gardens it would have to the Beech. The gardens were established in the 1850s and the tree was probably planted very early on. It is very tall and there is a plaque at the base stating the tree is on the National Trust Significant Tree register.

Images of the tree have been returning to me during odd moments since then. In my mind’s eye the top of the tree looks even more ethereal than it does in my photo and the tree itself has assumed a gentle, soothing energetic presence.

Intrigued by this I did some online reading. I was fascinated to learn the Beech is regarded as The Mother Tree is some cultures, both ancient and contemporary. In Japan a 400 year old Beech is considered the Mother of all Beech trees in that country. In Celtic Lore the Beech is called The Mother of the Woods.

The Beech also has long connection with writing. Paper and book covers have been made from the tree for centuries. The very first printed books were printed on Beech tree paper. Before that the bark of the Beech was used to write messages on. One legend has it that the Irish god Ogma, one of the Tuatha de Danaan, wrote the Ogham Alphabet on Beech bark.

For these reasons the tree has a symbolic connection writing, knowledge and creative expression. Because books can convey knowledge down through time the Beech has a symbolic link with the idea of bringing past knowledge into the present and on into the future. Developing this theme it is said that meditating beside a Beech tree enhances communication with one’s ancestors and ancestral knowledge.

silvery light
dancing across my dreams
– ancestral wisdom

Wandering locally

These days my wandering is localized.  My times of flying off to distant destinations and wandering as a tourist though other people’s lives are over, at least for now.  I really don’t like flying – it hurts my ears and damages my equilibrium on all kinds of levels.  I’m over long distance driving right now too.   I’ve done too much of it and besides, its expensive and burns up fossil fuels at an alarming rate.  These days most of my driving is confined to the wider area around my home.

Often I leave the car at home and walk along the treed avenues nearby.  This part of town is known as the ‘old town’ though by European standards it’s just a baby.  Here in Victoria, Australia it passes for old for some of the houses date back a hundred years or so.   The trees are big and shady.   Footpaths are mostly grassy tracks.   All in all, it’s a good place to wander.

I don’t miss the wider world.   It can come to me through my computer or I can find it in the shops around about.  Yesterday I went to a large warehouse that stocks unusual items the owner collects in Japan.   I bought some old glass sea floats.   Back home I hung them on a clump of sea worn twine I found as I wandered along these southern shores.

Faraway places
echoing in my footsteps
I wander home



An autumnal moon

In his prompt   Frank J Tassone -haiku challenge – pink moon Frank writes that the Native Americans call the April Full Moon a pink moon for it heralds the appearance of the “moss pink,” or wild ground phlox—one of the early spring flowers.

Here in Oz it’s autumn so the phlox isn’t blooming but the other night as I closing my blinds I noticed the moon was casting a pinkish glow onto the surrounding clouds.

A pink moon
riding high on the wind
– my heart leaps

The same thing happened at the last full moon.DSC_0002.JPG


March Madness

A haibun for

Today is the first cool day in ages.  During the past week the temperature have been over 38 degrees Celsius day after day.

Across this southern Australian State bushfires rage.  Not down here on the coast but through the forested hills to the east where I lived for many years.   I hear the names of familiar towns on the News and feel for the people still living there.

Ten years, when I lived there, the fires burned quite close to my home.  The worst day of those fires is seared into my memory.   The sky above my house turned a vile sickly orange and burnt leaves fell on my lawn.   The firefighters warned everyone to watch out for burning embers for the fierce winds were carrying them many, many kilometers from the blaze.    Around 3 in the afternoon I heard on the radio that one of the fire fronts was raging up the mountains towards the TV and radio transmission towers.  There was nothing anyone could do to prevent their destruction.   About twenty minutes later transmission stopped.   Only one television station that used a different transmission tower still worked so for over a week the only TV News we got was focused on the extreme fires that had burnt closer to the state capital.  The area I lived in was barely reported on.   One item that was broadcast though was the rising death toll from all the fires across the state.    The final toll was 173 plus countless animals.

Now, in these current fires, most people are not staying to defend their properties.   They evacuate instead.   I see them weeping on the News when they learn their house has burnt to the ground.  “I have nothing,” they say.  “Nothing but the clothes I stand up in and the car I drove to safety.”   One distraught woman spoke of staying to defend her house for as long as was safe.   She described the fires as sounding like a fire breathing dragon roaring through the bush.

Wild dragon days
torrid heat, blazing fires
– praying for rain

An aerial view of a house exploding in a massive fireball in Tonimbuk in the Bunyip State Forest. An aerial view of a house exploding in a massive fireball in Tonimbuk in the Bunyip State Forest.CREDIT:NINE NEWS



The light of truth

Yesterday we Australians learnt the Catholic priest, Cardinal Pell has been found guilty of child sex offenses.   The nature of the offenses that convicted him were explained carefully on the TV news.   The evidence presented revealed the man to be extremely perverse.

This morning I saw a News item which claimed some Catholic Priests have been involved in the sexual abuse of nuns.   I have no idea if these claims are true but I hope there are investigations into them around the globe.

A piercing light
revealing hidden abuse
– truth triumphs

unnamed – photo prompt –