Posted in Australia, Haibun, Haiku, Planetary renewal

Tree talk

We went back into a snap lockdown on last Sunday at midnight. This is lockdown No.8 here in regional Victoria, Australia. It is supposed to be a seven day lockdown but who knows. Before we were once again restricted by the 10k travel limit I met up with one of my daughters and her kids for a quick catch up. Seeking a place where the kids could run around freely we went to a steep wooded hillside beside a large lake.

The wind was blowing a gale and the kids ran around screaming with excitement at the sense of freedom it gave them. They’ve been cooped up for weeks what with all these lockdowns, remote learning, playgrounds being off limits for some of the time and the swimming pools closed.

My daughter and I braced ourselves against the wind. The force of it whipped our hair around our faces and made our jackets billow out from our bodies. The trees were bent at wild angles and the leaves were tossing about frantically.

The wind in the trees,
the sound of banshees singing
-change hurtles in.

I’m using the time in lockdown to work on my novel.

I’m writing an eco novel set at some unspecified time in the future. In the process I am delving into obscure areas of research. Here’s some unusual facts I learnt recently:-

Electricity from Trees
To extract electricity from trees and convert it into useful energy, researchers built a boost converter capable of picking up as little as a 20 millivolt output and storing it to produce a greater output. By hooking it up to a tree using electrodes, the custom-built device was able to generate an output voltage of 1.1 volts, enough to run low-power sensors… Using the electronic output to keep track of a tree’s health is another possibility.

A Finnish company recycles batteries by turning them into plant food

Globally, the disposal of alkaline batteries has become a major problem,” said Adrian Griffin, managing director of Lithium Australia, in a press release. “Our plan for repurposing the active components of the spent cells is not only a significant step towards worldwide environmental management of the issue but could also have a powerful influence on the sustainability of disposable batteries.”

Although some chemicals in batteries are toxic, this new method takes micro-nutrients present in alkaline batteries and turns them into vital food for crops. Zinc, which is present in many alkaline batteries, helps plants to make a chemical called chlorophyll. This is what makes plants green and without it they can’t use sunlight to turn water and CO2 into energy…

The batteries are first crushed, then filtration and purification processes remove toxic elements like mercury and nickel. It is important that these don’t end up in the fertiliser as they could make their way into the food we eat so testing of the final product is rigorous. Once removed, they are sent on to be safely disposed of by hazardous waste treatment plants instead of leaching into the soil as they would if the batteries were sent to landfill.



I'm an artist and a writer living by the coast in southern Oz.

39 thoughts on “Tree talk

    1. Thank you very much. The kids did have a great time. The youngest one found a piece of cloth that had blown in from who knows where. He used it as a kind of wind sail and ran around whooping with laughter. It made me happy watching.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. These last many months have been so hard. We aren’t designed to be disconnected like this – but how else do we keep safe? We haven’t locked down again in the UK – our government seems to just shrug over the death figures.

    I hope you had a good time with the kids, and that you get to spend time in the bush.


  2. I can’t believe you’ve had so many lockdowns. Are people not getting vaccinated? Is the situation not improving? I hope you get out soon, and in the meantime, that all goes well with your novel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The situation is very strange. There is a huge drive to vaccinate people and promises of eased restrictions when 70-80% are vaccinated. The roll out of vaccines has been slow because the federal government didn’t buy enough early on, The rules are too strict, the anti everything demonstrations are too violent and the messages from govt and media are confusing so I don’t actually know the answers to your questions.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Here we go again, then! Glad you got a meeting in with your daughter before you all had to get back in your boxes for the eighth time. Your eco novel sounds a great way to make use of the time though, so I hope it’s been productive for you. And it’s heartening to learn the stuff that is actually going on behind the scenes to save the planet. The Finnish idea sounds superb.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I thought the Finnish idea was great. Other countries are doing it too. Hopefully we’ll be out of lockdown on the weekend. There’s no new cases here so far. The weather is dreadful. We’ve plunged back into winter so staying home isn’t too bad. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah yes, that’s true. If you’re going to be locked down, the winter is the best time for it. At least it was only a week anyway. Roll on weekend freedom then. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, completely spun out! The wind just added to the general feeling of being swept away by it all. Amazingly we had a 5.8 magnitude earth tremor this morning. The epicentre was several hundred k away from here but my whole house shook. It added to feeling of being completely turned upside down and inside out. I’m getting back into balance now though. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I smiled at the thought of the kids running around screaming. Amazing information about getting electricity from trees……..I didnt know that – there are so many sources of clean energy available. Glad you are working on an eco novel.

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  5. That tree composition photo is beautiful. I’m so sorry you are facing another lockdown, but glad you and your family could get some outdoor time. As Brendan noted, we are doing the opposite here, with mounting fatalities as the result. Our world cannot seem to get beyond its extremes. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The energy you tap from “banshee winds” in the trees is power enough for this poem! Sorry about the lockdown (here there are no lockdowns and the dead keep piling up around us numb survivors in our freedom) and great to hear of the many uses for plants not as bones for more human habitation but sources of shared energy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I hope you are coping better than me Suzanne… with our latest lockdown, I seem to be bordering on the edge of exhaustion … mid-afternoon naps are compulsory … and think this bad weather is restrictive too … Oh well, I’m at my computer writing to you …. so I am alive, and the brain is still active … 🤗🌝 … maybe I’ll design some “Cards” ..😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know how you feel. Lockdown 7 was my worst yet. This one I’m not so bad but I do find when it gets to about day 5 I fall in a bit of a heap. I’ve had the exhaustion problem come and go through all the lockdowns. This time around I’ve got low level headache.
      Please do some cards – they’re great for taking your mind off the current problems and don’t have to be complicated. You can either do regular postcard size or Artist Trading Card size which is approx. 10 cm x 7.5cm. We usually send one or two to each person on the list. So far there are 5 people on our current list but I can easily add you too. Take care

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes.. it was quite strong my bedroom shook and Frankie jumped off the bed
            .. Haha .. I thought I was having another stroke .. that’s what happens, I get wobbly and the room starts moving
            I look forward to the list Suzanne 😊🌏💕🐶


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