This week Patrick of https://pixtowords.com/2021/12/13/travel-pic-and-a-word-challenge-294/ has given us the prompt word ‘Travel’. I thought I would tie my response in with my ‘Two Weeks of Trees’ theme. This is my post for Day 4.
A FEW YEARS AGO…
The day before I flew to London my son took me for a drive up into the Border Ranges between New South Wales and Queensland, Australia. We went in his SUV which was just as well for the potholes were big enough to swallow my little hatchback whole.
High on a ridge top we walked through the steamy rainforest heat to some of the strangest trees I’ve ever seen – the Antarctic Beech Tree.
These trees once grew on the ancient supercontinent of Gondwanaland. The Border Ranges trees are estimated to be 2000 years though I have read one report that dates some of the roots back 5000 years.
The roots arch like huge moss covered buttresses and the deep mahogany coloured trunks tower up out of the jungle to crest in a little umbral of leaves Although three trees appear to be growing close together in the photo below it is actually only one tree. The central trunk rotted out centuries ago.
Casual conversation feels irrelevant in the presence of these trees. There is a primordial energy and power to the way the twisted roots thrust up out of the earth and it is easy to imagine magical beings living in the shadowy moss covered nooks and crannies. *
The following day I went up Brisbane and boarded a plane to London. I had to go to that part of the world because of a difficult family issue. The flight was a long one. After about 30 hours the plane finally approached Heathrow Airport, London. The onboard monitor told me it was 6 degrees outside. After descending through a dense blanket of grey cloud for what felt like 10 minutes, we taxied across a grey tarmac in the grey cold light of a winter’s day.
After disembarking I made my way through the crowds to a border check where a grey man sitting in a grey booth glared at me. He examined my passport for an inordinately long time. I asked him if there was something wrong. ‘You’ve been here before,’ he growled. ‘I’m checking to see if you are planning to live here.’
Bleary eyed with jetlag I stared at him in disbelieve. ‘No,’ I said. ‘No. I am not planning to life here.’ I fought the urge to say. ‘Why would I live here? It’s 6 degrees!’
*My photos really don’t do these trees justice. I lost the original images in a computer crash and the images reproduced here are scans of printed photos. The colours are actually much more vibrant. (You can see some wonderful photos of these trees at https://journeyjottings.com/blog/2009/06/antarctic-beech-trees-of-gondwanaland/)
If you want to join in the Two Weeks of Travel theme simply post link a post about trees in the comment thread below. Everyone is welcome to join in