Tag Archives: trees

The Inner Tree, Port Arthur.

“The Tree and the Reed”

Well, little one,” said a Tree to a Reed that was growing at its foot, “why do you not plant your feet deeply in the ground, and raise your head boldly in the air as I do?””I am contented with my lot,” said the Reed. “I may not be so grand, but I think I am safer.””Safe!” sneered the Tree. “Who shall pluck me up by the roots or bow my head to the ground?” But it soon had to repent of its boasting, for a hurricane arose which tore it up from its roots, and cast it a useless log on the ground, while the little Reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over.Obscurity often brings safety.”
Aesop

There was such a mixture of grief and intrigue when I spotted this chopped down tree at Port Arthur. After walking through the bush admiring and photographing the soaring blue gums and almost feeling one with them, I was grieved to see something so beautiful destroyed.

“If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.”

Khalil Gibran

Yet, fortunately it’s not often that I get to see inside a tree. Despite loving trees, I still have that child-like fascination with counting the rings and peering inside this hidden, inner zone. Is this where trees store up all their secrets? Where they write down all the stories they hear whispered by the wind? Part of me, believes it is and I wish I could translate them all.

xx Rowena

 

 

 

Up the Garden Path, Port Arthur.

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Although I’d never heard about the stunning gardens at Port Arthur before our visit, I was happily led up the garden path. Indeed, the gardens were a serious, botanical feast…especially for a brown-thumbed sod like myself unable to convert our sandy soil into a floral paradise.

It’s hard to comprehend that stunning, specialist gardens were growing in such a brutal, violent penal settlement. However, line most things, one thing led to another.

In 1849, several scientific groups joined together to form the Royal Society of Tasmania for Horticulture, Botany and the Advance of Science, the first Royal Society outside of Britain. Members had connections with Kew Gardens and other nurseries. This society  took responsibility for managing Hobart’s Government Gardens, later to become the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens.
Among Royal Society members were numerous Port Arthur administrators and officials including Commandants William Champ and James Boyd. Many plants were ordered from England. Cuttings, tubers, corms, rootstock and seeds were also collected by plant enthusiasts on the eight-month journey to Van Diemen’s Land. The genes of some of Port Arthur’s plants map the ports of call in South America, South Africa and India. Boyd alone ordered hundreds of plants, including dahlias, marjoram and fruit trees.

 

As early as the 1830s ornamental trees were planted at Port Arthur. By 1838 the avenue leading to the Church from Tarleton Street was lined with young trees provided by the Governor of the day, Sir John Franklin. In 1846-47, Commandant Champ developed Government Gardens as an ornamental garden primarily for the enjoyment of the ladies of the settlement. The gardens were much admired and reached their peak in the late 1860-70s. After the closure of Port Arthur the gardens were neglected until reconstruction began in the 1990’s.

‘The usual afternoon walk was to be Government Cottage Garden where the officers’ wives, their children and nursemaids used to assemble. They were charming gardens. Lovely green lawns and gay flower beds – even a fountain in the centre – all beautifully kept.’

E.M. Hall, 1871-7.

 

The plants at Port Arthur have been catologued and their stories reproduced in a stunning online catalogue. I found it rather intriguing to read how seeds, cuttings and bulbs from exotic species found in Britain, India, South Africa and more arrived onboard ships in Tasmania, finding their way into the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hobart as well as these gardens in Port Arthur.
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I might not know the botanic name for this rose but I did manage to photograph it. I could curl deep inside and wrap myself up in that petal swirl.

These days it is impossible to conceive the trafficking of plant materials across international borders when you can’t even bring plants, fruits and a swag of other items into Tasmania from the Australian Mainland…at least, not as your average Joe. Quarantine is very important in Australia and Tasmania in order to keep out exotic diseases and  pests.

“Port Arthur is beginning to look springlike. The oak trees are bursting into leaf and there is a profusion of bulbs in bloom in the paddocks which at one time were old gardens.”

The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954) Thursday 30 August 1934 p 5.

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Anyway, I thought I’d share a few stories about the various plants at Port Arthur.

Quercus robur (English oak, common oak)

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The trees that surround Government Gardens and line the avenue up to the Church are mostly English oaks. This is the most common forest tree in Britain.

The botanic name robur means ‘strength’ in Latin, and refers to the hard timber for which the trees have been valued since prehistoric times. Sir John Franklin, the Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen’s Land from 1836-43, provided the Port Arthur Penal Settlement with young oak, ash and elm trees, some of which may survive today. Deciduous European trees were some of the earliest brought to the new colony, bringing a sense of comfort and familiarity in an otherwise foreign landscape.

Digitalis purpurea (common foxglove)

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A native to western and south western Europe, including the British Isles. Commandant Champ wrote a letter to his mother requesting her to collect the seeds of wild flowers when walking in the woods and send them to him.

 

Lupinus polyphyllus   (garden lupin)

This plant was discovered in the north-west of North America in the 1820s by Mr David Douglas, who also introduced the Douglas fir to Europe.

Seeds of ‘blue and yellow lupins various’ were being advertised for sale by Mrs Wood in the Hobart Town Courier by November 1829:

‘This splendid lupine is now become so common that we can hardly conceive how gardens must have looked without it, though it is not yet quite twenty years that seeds of it were first sent to this country…’

Melianthus major (honey flower)

A common plant in colonial gardens, Melianthus would have been admired for its unusual leaves and growth habit, as well as for its large red flower spikes, unlike any plant found in traditional English gardens. It is native to South Africa, and was collected by sailing vessels on their way from England to the Australian colonies and other trading ports.

Myosotis sylvatica (forget-me-not)

The forget-me-not is so common in Tasmanian gardens that many people consider it weedy and tend to pull it out. A common flower in woodlands throughout Britain and Europe, this would have been one of the early introductions to the gardens in Port Arthur.

The following poem appeared in an April edition of the Launceston Courier in 1829, and captures the sentimentality that people at this time had for the forget-me-not:

There is a flow’r I love so well

That grows within my garden plot

My willing pen its name shall tell

The lovely blue ‘forget-me-not’

‘Tis not within the rich man’s hall,

But near the honest peasant’s cot,

Where grows the lovely flow’r, we call,

The modest blue ‘forget-me-not’.

It does not boast a rich perfume,

The rose-bud’s glory ‘t has not got;

It does not want a warmer bloom,

The brilliant blue ‘forget-me-not’

Through life I’ve lov’d this simple flow’r

Nor ever be its name forgot

In prosp’rous time or adverse hour

The humble blue ‘forget-me-not’

And should I die an early doom

Let no false tear my mem’ry blot;

But let there spring around my tomb,

The azure blue ‘forget-me-not’

Salix babylonica (weeping willow)

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Weeping Willow at Port Arthur 2017.

The weeping willows that once grew in this garden, and in many other sites throughout Australia and Britain, were taken as cuttings from a tree growing on the grave of Napoleon Bonaparte on the island of St Helena. A quick growing shade tree popular  for ornamental plantings, willows have also traditionally been used medicinally and for basketry.

In 1845, the Commandant of Port Arthur investigated which Tasman Peninsula outstations had suitable conditions to plant willows for basket-making, and supplied these with cuttings from his own garden.

Rosa chinensis (China rose)

China roses were introduced into the west towards the end of the 18th century, and enabled the many cultivars of rose available today to be developed. China roses have the quality of repeat flowering, although they bloom most heavily in the spring.

The roses growing in Government Gardens include ‘La Marque’, a variety released in 1830 with large, fragrant, white flowers.

Solanum aviculare  (kangaroo apple)

Thomas Lempriere, the Commissariat Officer at Port Arthur from 1833-48, wrote in his journal about the culinary value of various native plants. He stated: ‘the Solanum…or kangaroo apple, is a very handsome plant and the fruits, when perfectly ripe, pleasant to the taste’. –1838

In 1828 the kangaroo apple was featured in an  article in the Hobart Town Courier, which commented:

‘…we have had occasion, this season particularly, to remark the great luxuriance of what is called the Kangaroo apple, or New Zealand potato, a species of Solanum common to this country and New Zealand… a beautiful evergreen shrub, with dark verdant leaves… It is covered with small round apples, which when ripe eat exactly like bananas, and a sort of yams grow at its root, it is both ornamental and useful.’

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed our meanders through the gardens at Port Arthur. Adding a few details to my photographs, has become quite a long and interesting journey, even for this serial plant killer.

If you’d like to check out the Port Arthur Gardens’ Plant Guide, please click: here.

xx Rowena

Jacaranda Dreaming.

This morning, I had a passionate affair with my Jacaranda tree. Different, I know…especially as I’m not usually one of those tree-hugging types. However, being Spring, all that pollen must’ve gone to my head.

Our Jacaranda tree has exploded into a luscious canopy of mauve flowers. It really is sensational. You can also see quite a few patches of mauve around town, which is rather uplifting when I’m driving around in Mum’s  Taxi. For a crazy photographer like me, this is like spotting candy beside the road. Yahoo!

Of course, if you know anything about Jacaranda trees, their beauty isn’t confined to the sky either. There’s also a pretty mauve carpet all over the grass. Indeed, as we “speak”, there are even a few stray flowers scattered all over my sleeping dogs.

After all, when it comes to dropping flowers and leaves, the Jacaranda tree is incredibly generous.

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Anyway, this morning when I went outside to photograph the sunflower seedlings, I detoured via the Jacaranda Tree. I started roaming underneath the branches looking for an angle, a perspective with my eagle eye. This was a bit tricky as my neck was quite stiff and I really had to crank it up. After a few minutes, I decided to put together a range of perspectives. I love interpreting things from different angles and seeing them through fresh eyes.  AND… these fluttering purple flowers, really were dazzling, awakening my senses and my soul.

While photographing a tree in your own backyard can feel rather hum drum, it is convenient. Besides, the funny thing is that while I might find my backyard boring, it could well be paradise to someone living on the other side of the world. That being the case, I’d much rather invite you over than the neighbours, who’ll just notice my junk.

Anyway, as soon as I point my camera at the tree, I’ve been transformed. There’s that very real sense of being sucked inside my lens. That I’m concentrating absolutely all my being and focus onto those flowers. Of course, I could call them “the subject”, but I’m not writing a university essay. Rather, I’m sharing a passion which goes beyond definitions, boundaries or even words. It’s this sense of being so consumed by what I’m seeing, that I’ve become one with it. Our boundaries have merged.

It’s a beautiful thing.

After taking the photos, I returned to my desk to download the images. By the way, my desk would look right out onto the garden if the blinds weren’t down. I know that sounds like a waste but even though it’s only Spring, the sun’s intense.

So, while I was sitting there feasting on images, I could sense a strange scratching on the back of my head. It was very much like one of my dogs scratching on the back door. No, it wasn’t nits. It was finally the muse. While I should be quite attuned to this after many years of writing poetry and turning myself inside-out through verse, I was surprised. It’s been awhile since I’ve written a poem and to be perfectly honest, I was trying to squeeze in a nap. However, as I’m sure you know yourselves, the muse doesn’t care whether you’re ready or not. She simply turns up on a whim and you have to jump or she’ll pass your spark onto someone else. The muse can be a heartless sod.

So, of course, the muse won out!

This poem is about peering through my long zoom lens trying to get a close-up of the jacaranda flowers while they’re moving in the wind. In case you haven’t used a “real” camera, long lenses do not like movement, unless of course you’re going for the blurry look. To be honest, trying to photograph these flowers, reminded me of trying to photograph kids. They can be impossible! Anyway, the poem developed its own twists and turns from there, taking on a life of its own…as it usually does.

Anyway, here’s the poem:

Jacaranda Dreaming

 Blurred through the lens,

purple skirts fluttering in the breeze,

the jacaranda flowers giggle like little girls,

caught up in their sequined twirls.

Eyes to me!

Stand still!

Smile!

 Look at the camera!

Yet, they won’t listen.

Can’t hear.

My pleas are falling flat

on deaf ears.

Oblivious to the lens,

they’re entranced by

the Spirit of Dance.

She moves among them

without a sound,

shaking their shackles free.

Liberated,

they take flight,

finally pirouetting out of sight,

leaving their seeds behind.

I wonder where they will sleep tonight…

these dazzling purple butterflies

fluttering in the sunlight

taking my heart.

 2.

All too soon,

the seeds scatter away from the tree,

falling deep into the starving Earth.

Almost on auto-pilot,

they raise their arms through the soil,

no longer seeds but trees.

They’re growing strong.

Growing tall.

Standing firm against the wind.

Fresh flowers fall from their limbs

year after year,

as the cycle of life goes on.

It’s hard to believe

these trees ever danced free,

flying along on the fragrant winds,

now that they’ve been firmly planted.

Indeed, you could probably say

the same of me.

Yet, I was also once a girl.

A girl twirling in her ballet skirt

learning to dance,

soaring on the brink of flight.

 Rowena Curtin 7th November, 2016

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Crooked and free-flowing, there’s something refreshing about the Jacaranda’s maze of twisting branches.

 

Do you have a favourite tree in your garden? I’d love to hear about it.

xx Rowena

PS I’m still wishing I could find Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree and climb to the very top and disappear for a bit. Wouldn‘t it be great?!!

 

Weekend Coffee Share October 1, 2016.

Welcome to another Weekend Coffee Share.

How patient are you? I could get you a cuppa now or you can wait until the Mars Bar Slice has set. Or, you can be like the kids and I can cut you off a piece still dripping with melted chocolate. They were heading off to bed before it set and who can wait til tomorrow for Mars Bar Slice? Have you tried it? It is wickedly good.

I hope you’ve had a great week. What have you been up to? You know there are no secrets around here. Well, there might be a few but no one can dob us in, can they?!!

We have just got through our first week of school holidays and Geoff took the week off work. We are having a “staycation”. Well, three of us had a staycation, while we dispatched our son off to a three day beginner’s sailing course during the day. Next week, both kids will be doing a three day sailing course, despite my daughter’s concerns about Australian wildlife lurking under the waves. It doesn’t help that there’s been another shark attack at Ballina, near Byron Bay this week. To be honest, a shark would be pretty daft to swim around a noisy a group of kids. The din would be enough to send them swimming away to save their own sanity.

Tuesday was a huge day. I had a half-yearly check up with my lung specialist as well as lung function tests, which seem designed to make me cough and cough until I almost expire but then I’m free to go. The appointment and the tests went as expected…no better, no worse. See you in six months. That’s a good sign, considering where I was! Much to be thankful for as well!

After my appointments, we’d planned to go sailing at Palm Beach with my dad and the kids. However, while I was coughing my lungs out in the machine, the wind had built up steam as well and was gusting at 30 knots. There wasn’t even much discussion. The Captain had spoken. No sailing.

“Not happy, Jan!” (This commercial is really worth seeing. It’s hilarious! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2akt3P8ltLM )

Anyway, I compensated by heading out into my parents suburban jungle of a garden with my camera and photographing fallen camellias, a striking tree without any leaves and my feet walking through the forget-me-knots. I ended up lying down in the grass using my camera bag as a pillow and listening to the wind tinkling through  the leaves. I don’t know when I last lay down in the grass and watched the clouds pass by. Most of the time, we don’t have much grass in our garden at home and when we do, it can be quite a jungle.

I must do it more often. I rarely even sit down at the beach. I’m always walking…and throwing Bilbo has ball, of course. You try telling a Border Collie he’s had enough. He doesn’t know the meaning of enough…especially when it comes to chasing balls and food.

Anyway, after roaming through the garden, we drove up to Brooklyn on the Hawkesbury River on the way home and played explorers. Funny how we managed to find a fish & chips shop. We only ordered chips but then a couple of chickens and roosters wandered in, giving a different interpretation of “chicken & chips”. Actually, they were all rather fond of eating chips and it’s certainly a much better alternative than being served up alongside them on the plate. Indeed, you could say they were rather demanding…”Chippies!!!!”

You can read more about our Day Trip to Brooklyn

We usually eat pretty healthy food here but school holidays are a different story and surely I deserve a bit of time off as well, especially given the persistence of “The Cough”!

So, after picking our son up from sailing, we headed over to Avoca Beach and had fish and chips and a fisherman’s basket for dinner. Not sure I’m really pleased about finding this place because the seafood was exceptionally good. I want more and I can see myself sneaking back and making  devious detours. I wonder if I keep eating fish and chips, whether I’ll be able to swim like a fish? After all, people keep telling me anything’s possible when you put your mind to it. What do you think?

My husband thinks I’m crazy but he hasn’t had me locked up yet.

Rainbow Lorrikeet

Making the most of where I am. This photo was taken in our backyard…a Rainbow Lorrikeet in a bottlebrush tree. It could so easily be described as just “a bird in a tree”.

Inspiration hit hard last night so I’ve been scrambling away researching, writing and things are coming together well. Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted but the story is based on my explorations in my parents’ garden. A simple theme but profound about the amazing things lurking right under our nose, while were longing for foreign fields. Making the most of the moment. With my health issues and having the kids and not being able to travel overseas, I am good at this. Blogging has really helped because it’s given me a greater appreciation for what I have here because it is exotic and amazing to someone over there.

I finally watched “Eat, Pray, Love” the movie this week. My husband wasn’t a huge fan and disappeared but Bilbo came and sat on my lap most of the way through it and didn’t complain. Mind you, that could have been because he was asleep.

It’s been a few years now since the book came out and my friends and I were reading it when our boys first started school. That was 7 years ago. We all had young kids and there was no way we could just take off and leave them behind for 12 months. However, I do remember drawing a line in the sand and deciding to explore local places and I’ve followed through on that right up to our day trip to Brooklyn this week. You don’t need a pot of gold or endless time to travel. Indeed, travelling and exploring are a mindset and it doesn’t really matter where you are because you’ll always be turning over fresh stones and looking for what’s lurking underneath.

I also remember refusing to accept mediocrity and that started with moving to a new cafe. We didn’t look back.

BTW, I almost forgot to mention that I joined in with 1000 Voices for Compassion this week, writing Compassion: It’s Complicated. No matter how much I try and help people, I’m forever making mistakes and letting people down and I think we all need to be more forgiving.

The clock here goes forward an hour sometime during the night and much to my horror, this is where we gain an hour to lose an hour. It’s never made any sense to me. By Monday morning, things usually make sense but you need to watch out if you work Sundays or head to Church. You can easily get caught out.

Anyway, it’s time for me to stop rambling and philosophising  and to click on the Publish button and get some sleep.

Hope you’ve had a great week and please share your news!

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share. You can click through to the Linky to read some other posts or to join in yourself.

Love & Blessings,

Rowena

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Trip to Brooklyn, Sydney.

After intense winds swept away our sailing plans, we decided to drive home via Brooklyn, on Sydney’s Hawkesbury River. We were there a few weeks ago for a cruise but our connection with Brooklyn goes back even further. Geoff and I seriously considered buying a block of land in Brooklyn when we got engaged…almost 16 years ago. So, when we cam back for this wander around Brooklyn, it was also a case of exploring what might have been…our other life.

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Brooklyn is in the centre of the map.

The railway arrived in 1877, making it less than an hour’s journey from Hornsby. A ferry service then conveyed passengers to Gosford.

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When you first arrive at Brooklyn, you’ll soon notice this stone obelisk commemorating Governor Arthur Phillip’s first expedition of the Hawkesbury River. In March 1788, little more than a month after the arrival of the First Fleet, Governor Arthur Phillip led an expedition which explored the mouth of the Hawkesbury as far as Dangar Island, near Brooklyn. In June the following year, his second expedition reached as far as Wisemans Ferry. It was on this expedition that Phillip identified the river and named it in honour of Lord Hawkesbury, the president of the Board of Trade in Britain.

Fast-forwarding one hundred years, in 1877 the railway came to Brooklyn, although the town wasn’t established until 1884 when the Fagan Brothers subdivided their 100-acre grant. A ferry service conveyed passengers to Gosford, on the other side of the Hawkesbury River, until the Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge was completed in 1889.

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I was receiving subliminal messages telling me I needed hot chips.

However, while they might have sold fish and chips, we had a a few chickens and even a rooster thrown in.

Indeed, the rooster had quite a lot of attitude.

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I also admired this anchor hanging on the wall.

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As we walked around the streets, we stumbled across the old Brooklyn Post Office with its very old mail slot referring to “GR”.

Ferries, fishing boats…the Brooklyn Marina is a great place to poke around and explore. This place is rustic with a capital R with all sorts of nooks and crannies which were paradise for the kids. It was hard work trying to keep them on the track but they weren’t the only ones who wandered off either. Remember, I was there with the Nikon Beast looking through my lens at every step, seeing through 6 x 4. That made for numerous detours and so much fun.

We also found some stunning native flowers:

I also loved this incredibly beautiful gum tree:

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I wonder how old this tree would be and what it has seen. If only trees could talk!!

 

In case you get lost in Brooklyn, this sign could give you some idea of just how far you have to walk home:

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However, you can easily visit Brooklyn by train, alighting at Hawkesbury River Station in  the centre of town. Indeed, if you love a bit of train spotting, Brooklyn is a great place to see the trains up close just don’t brhereeathe in as the trains go past. The stench of burning brakes could seize your lungs. You might also enjoy watching the trains pass over the Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge.

Also, if you’re thinking about visiting Brooklyn , you could enjoy a Hawkesbury River history cruise. We took the cruise a few weeks ago and you can read about it here.

Meanwhile, we’re signing out for our first day of the school holidays.

xx Rowena

 

 

 

 

 

The Fork in the Tree.

What do you see when you look at this tree?

Initially, I saw the fork in the road but when I look at it now I see a very flexible, headless dancer whose toe is pointing up into the clouds. Mind you, when I came up with that image, I’d chopped the top off the photo on my laptop screen. or, maybe, the dancer hasn’t shaved her legs?

Unfortunately, I also noticed this tree isn’t looking very healthy.While it is deciduous, it’s neighbours are all sprouting Spring leaves and there isn’t so much as a bud on this one. I’m hoping my suspicions are wrong but is this tree deceased?

“C’mon! Grow, baby. Grow!…Just a leaf? A sign? A glimmer of hope?”

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My Pathway is Lost in a  Jumble of Twigs. Where am I going?

Meanwhile, looking further up the tree, I spotted “chaos central” where there is no clear-cut fork in the road… the A & B options. Rather, these twigs graphically portrayed:

“My life is such a Mess!” or “I’m soooo confused”.

There are no patterns and no pathway through. No exit from the maze but at least there is no minotaur but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a spider’s next in there…a tribe of Huntsmen.

When you have complicated decisions to make, what do you do? How do you choose which way to go? Toss a coin? Phone a friend? Write about it? Make a list of pros and cons?

I use a range of these strategies but what I’ve finally come to appreciate the hard way, is that action outranks procrastination. That even if you make the wrong decision, that’s better than doing nothing at all. Procrastination is not my friend and yet…

Hey, I just went chasing up a quote to illuminate this post and this was the first quote I found and it was so about this tree. It must be a sign:

“Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.”

Robert H. Schuller

Perhaps, this tree should be renamed: “The Philosopher’s Tree”. Well, it’s certainly got me thinking and fired up a few brain cells. Dare I say, cleared out some “dead wood”?

Surely, there’s life in the old tree yet!

xx Rowena

Writing…Is “procrastination” really a sin?

As a writer and creative, are you meant to go down the direct route, immediately producing that book in record-breaking time? Or, is so-called “procrastination” part of the creative process…a required element to add to the quality  and longevity of your work?After all, as creative guru John Lennon once said: “Life is lived while busy making other plans”.

These contradictions often go into battle at the back of my head and I’m constantly coming across this tension in other writers as well.

Recently, I was reminded of this tension reading this quote by Moliere:

“The trees that are slow to grow, bear the best fruit.”

– Moliere

However, is this true? Or, is it just a nice saying?

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The Mighty Oak

I consulted the Google oracle to see what its great wisdom revealed and found this research report by Bryan Black, an assistant professor of forestry at Oregon State University, who works out of OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Ore.  His research shows that even within a species, the oldest  trees grow the slowest, even as youngsters.

“Faster growing trees may put all of their energy into growth and burn out before they can achieve really old age,” he said. “Slow-growing trees may invest a lot in producing strong wood and defense mechanisms against insects and disease and never rise above the forest canopy.”

Rapidly growing trees may occupy space more quickly, reach sexual maturity earlier, and are more prone to frequent, catastrophic disturbances, including flood, fire and windstorms, Black said. They also die at a younger age. Meanwhile, the slower growing trees channel their energy into structural support and defense compounds, don’t burn out from reproducing, and slowly-but-surely outpace their mercurial cousins.http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2009/feb/study-finds-oldest-trees-grow-slowest-%E2%80%93-even-youngsters

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So, this research suggests slow and steady ultimately wins the race. Well, that is, if being a long-lived tree is your goal.

While  I feel pressured to get that book out there, I have benefited from taking the extra time. I have grown so much as writer through the hours I am putting into my blog  and have found my voice. Even more importantly, I have been dialoguing and chatting with my readers, while also reading and responding to their work. Through these exchanges, I’ve been unconsciously fine tuning my story. It might be taking me longer to write the book and it might even be taking me away from it, but I know that what I’ll write now will be much more relevant. It has to be. After all, I’ve spent the last 4 years listening as well as writing. Moreover, being able to hear readers before I write the book project, has to be revolutionary.

However, it takes a lot of courage to take your time writing the book. There’s so much pressure to publish just to gain any kind of credibility. You’re not a real writer until you’ve actually published the book…any book!

Yet, isn’t the ultimate credibility writing something worth reading? Writing something which changes your readers lives and minds and inspires them in some way? I’m sure that doesn’t happen overnight just  like quality plants don’t mature overnight either.

Indeed, we’ve all seen backyard domination by the mighty weed. Is that what we want from our modern literature?

So, while I think there is a place for writing, writing, writing and getting that book out ASAP, I’m still a believer in “slow and steady wins the race”. That the tortoise will ultimately take out the hare but the tortoise still needs to make it through to the finish line.

That’s something I need to work a lot harder on.

What are your thoughts?

xx Rowena

 

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And so the race begins…