Gingko Magic

I paid an unexpected visit to the Botanic Gardens in my local city of Geelong today with one of my daughters. Neither of us visit these Gardens very often so every path held new wonders for us.

Redwood tree
Bottle Tree

Although it’s very cold and wintery down here in the protected micro-climate of the gardens many of the trees are still covered in autumn leaves. An old gingko tree in the Asian Garden still wore a golden crown of leaves and the ground all around was covered in them.


This tree is on the National Tree Register and according to the National Trust website is:-
An outstanding specimen of this native of China and by far the largest in Victoria and presumably Australia. Possibly the largest in cultivation. This tree is in excellent condition although wind and crowding has forced the growth in one direction.

Visiting this tree really lifted my spirits on this cold winter’s day so I was intrigued to read of the symbolic meanings attached to the Gingko tree. The message I discovered seems particularly pertinent in these difficult times.

Message: Ginkgo brings a time of stillness and spiritual initiation or enlightenment into our life. This is a powerful and positive time to increase our awareness of life by honoring our dreams and intuitive powers. Meditate on where there is imbalance and seek insight from signs and symbols that naturally present themselves. What may have been unknown or mysterious to us is now becoming known as nature reveals its once hidden truths for us to see.

Challenge: Feeling depleted, ungrounded and disconnected. Trying to flee from reality by creating indecision and the illusion that there are limited choices.

The Fork in the Road

The authorities are saying now that there is a likelihood that Covid 19 escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China. Apparently the lab in question was involved in creating viruses in animals as part of a global plan known as ‘Gain-of-function’ research:-

“The rationale for this type of research is that by isolating these new viruses, researchers will be able to identify the specific changes in the genome that are responsible for the new characteristics. This knowledge could make it possible for scientists to better predict the arrival of new pandemics. It could help scientists develop vaccines and treatments adapted to new infectious agents.

Apparently the lab in Wuhan involved in this research had poor security measures and was involved in risky research on bats.

Like many people I bought the WHO line in 2020 that Covid is a zoonotic disease that crossed from animals to humans via a wet market in Wuhan. It’s now been revealed that this line was pushed by the authorities because Trump and the conspiracy theorists were aligned with the lab escape idea.

That fantasy was exploded by the meticulous reporting of the veteran science writer Nicholas Wade in an article published in May in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Wade’s persuasive case that the novel coronavirus escaped containment at the Wuhan Institute of Virology — which was conducting research on altering viruses so they would more easily jump from animals to humans — has reopened a debate we should have been having all along. Biden’s order is a consequence.”

Well – WTF!

This morning I had a fleeting vision just before I woke up. I saw the whole Covid lab escape v natural virus as a kind of holographic projection that has been beamed onto our minds – a kind of filmic, illusory thought form.

The zoonotic disease theory appealed to me because it reinforces my personal belief that we are impacting too much on nature and are cutting down too many trees. With habitat destruction people are more likely to encounter wild animals. Zoonotic diseases like HIV can cross over to humans. Seeing Covid as yet another zoonotic disease fits with into the framework of ideas.

Last year when conspiracy theories about Covid were peaking I read they were becoming so popular because people seek patterns to explain events. Conspiracy theories are big on patterns – x happened because of v – w – z…

Now I realise my mind has been seeking similar ‘rational’ explanations:-

On waking
I find myself
in fabrications
I clung to
as explanations
of events

When I saw the lab escape v zoonotic disease debate as a holograph this morning I had a momentary impression of seeing through it. Beyond it was a clear expanse – the higher state of mind reached sometimes in meditation. The peace and clarity that comes during bursts of creativity, gardening, being in nature and listening to beautiful music are also ways in which this higher state can be reached.

It seems to me that the wisest course of action I can take is to cultivate this state. Nothing in the construct I’ve taken to a solid, immutable reality is as it seems. It’s all open to interpretation.

On writing to Earthweal challenges

I’ve spent the last week trawling through this blog looking at all the poems posted here. Most of them were written in response to Earthweal challenges. All of them were written in a heated rush and received very little editing before posting. I have now deleted the worst of them and given many a major edit. A few have been left as they were first written.

In the course of this editing process I came to wondering what this outpouring of words was all about.

Co-incidentally, Brendan of Earthweal this week writes about the nature of work and on the writing of eco-poetry. After reflecting on his own working life he asks us to ‘write of EARTHCRAFT, that work of restoring earthly perfection through craft.

Unlike Brendan, and probably most of those reading this, I cannot lay claim to an illustrious career working long years in a particular field. My working life has involved working in menial jobs while getting degrees. It has also involved long periods of unemployment and of ill health. Volunteering, part time and unpaid work have also featured.

Often the work I do involves planting trees and cultivating gardens. Usually when the planning, planting and initial cultivation is done I leave and move on to the next project. Trees planted in regeneration areas are left to fend for themselves. The gardens are left for others to care for. I see similarities in that work and the work of writing eco-poetry.

Poems as seeds
scattered on the winds.
borne of necessity.
The pressures
– internal and external –
building up
taking form in words
rambling across pages
then honed, cut, culled
smoothed and shaped
into kernels of ideas.

When writing of eco-poetry as an Earthcraft that seeks to restore earthly perfection Brendan asks: “How is work changing, and what tools are there for keeping balance?’

I cannot claim that my poetry here has attained any form of perfection. All I can say is that after editing all my poems written for Earthweal I am feeling like I have completed a project to the best of my ability.

The urge to write poems is waning for me at present as other forms of creative expression claim my attention. That is the nature of work for me. I get deeply involved in particular projects for a period of time then, to keep myself in balance, I move on to periods of rest and hiatus or to completely different tasks. I’m getting older now and my body doesn’t take well to long hours of manual labour. I planted two trees this week but probably won’t plant any more for quite a while. The same goes for my poetry. I probably won’t write any more for quite a while.

– the path goes ever on

Flashback Friday – The Beech Tree

I found this post from May 28.2019 on my old blog ‘Being in Nature’. It’s nice to look back to pre-pandemic times when life was easier. The weather must have been milder then too for most of the autumn leaves have already fallen this year and we are now experiencing chilly wintery temperatures.

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I think I have may have been enchanted by a magnificent Beech tree I saw at the Botanical Gardens last 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 that 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 Botanical Gardens I visited 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.

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Images of the tree have been returning to me at 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.

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silvery light
dancing across my dreams
– ancestral wisdom

prompt: Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year?


For the longest time I looked without.
Going here. Going there.
A medieval retreat in Bruges –
a silent, peaceful place
nuns cloistered within
and yet, no seat in the garden,
nowhere to rest my weary traveller’s bones.
Just afleeting sense of something greater
some abiding calm.

Other times, other places.
Forest and beaches closer to home.
Quiet, solitary walks and
moments of sanctuary
within the rush and roar of modern life.

Then –
the planes stopped flying,
the borders closed.
The world shrunk.

Everyone holidaying at home.
Dog walkers carrying bags of poop,
fishermen hollering on mobile phones,
cyclists in lycra whizzing past,
all the quiet places busy,
every country by-road a thoroughfare,
every nook and cranny
now an Instagram selfie op.

Look within the sages say,
find the standing stones of the heart,
rest in some abiding faith,
some old time religion.

In the shifting of the ages
where is the bedrock found?
It’s all gone quantum now,
the universe, the whole shebang,
is energy.
Moving, flowing waves
becoming particles
only when observed.

The observed,
the fixed, the known,
Unpredictable outcomes – the new normal.

Does the sanctuary now
lie within the flow?
Becoming, always becoming,
earth beings in the cosmos.


Flashback Friday

I was looking for a blogging challenge tonight and came across this one
The idea is you find a post from this day in a previous year and reblog it. I couldn’t find anything on my blogs from May 21 but did find one from May 22, 2019. The weird thing is it’s about a place I visited today many hours before discovering Fandago’s challenge. It’s a place I rarely go so it’s a noteworthy coincidence. While I was there today I kept thinking about how it used to be.

Here’s a link to the 2019 post ( warning this a prepandemic post and the end of it reads as naive now)

In one part of the post I wrote:-

 I walked on to the mysterious medicine wheel I discovered on my previous visit to the reserve. I have no idea who made it or why. Grateful for these anonymous earthwalkers I walked around the perimeter honouring the four directions. I then moved to the centre – the axis mundi – and made an impromptu prayer for the earth’s healing.

The 2019 photo of the medicine wheel

Today the place is overgrown and the medicine wheel can hardly be seen. Whoever made it obviously hasn’t been back in a while. The stones still mark the circle but the grasses around it are much taller and the inside of the circle is full of weeds. I walked around it but it didn’t feel as powerful as it did two years ago.

In my 2019 post I wrote:-

When I came to a clump of casaurina trees I found a warm, dry spot to sit. The fallen needles from the trees made a soft cushion on the ground. Above my head the trees murmured quietly to each other in the soft breeze. Out across the lake another flock of swans flew by giving their melancholy cry. Further out and higher still I saw an eagle circling lazily above the cleared paddocks of the farther shore.

Time passed. I breathed deep and the troubles of the world fell away. Out here I felt truly alive, free and utterly myself.

Today’s experience was rather different:-

I walked further into the reserve. During our second Covid lockdown we were allowed to exercise outdoors. Lots of places that used to be quiet and rarely visited suddenly got discovered. So many people visit these places now it’s hard to find quiet time alone. This morning there was no one at reserve so I found a sunny spot off the path and sat down to enjoy the quiet. I was just starting to relax and observe the water birds when a barking dog rushed up to me. A girl tugging on its lead was laughing and saying it was just curious. I scrambled to my feet as the dog snarled and barked while the girl struggled to pull it back. So much for peace and quiet! I went back to my car and drove home. Often these days I find it’s the quietest place.

A white faced heron I saw before the dog arrived

The post from 2 years ago ends with me wondering about climate change and where humanity is heading. I still wonder about those things but now have even less idea of the outcome.

Journey to the Otherworld

This twenty-first century life,
so dire and dark.
It’s getting harder to find the ways in
– the slipstream moments
the lighted windows in trees,
the secret portals –

Slipping down,
imagination the vehicle
diving deeper
the imagination gives way,
something else takes over.
The inner and the outer mesh.

Then, only then,
do the shining ones comes,
tall and resplendent
figures of legend.
Denizens of the inner Earth
since the time before time.
Guardians of ancient knowings
they demand only one thing
– the purest intention.