The dirt track is bounded at its edges by a dense wall of melaleucas. Their foliage brushes the ground and towers metres above. The pretty red flowers contradict the spiky leaves. Pushing past the splintery natural boundary you find a clearing. You can be sure that it hasn’t been touched for hundreds of years because the natural amphitheatre tells you so, with a wispy voice that blows through the leaves.
At centre stage stands the star of the show. A gum tree with branches as thick as God’s thighs. It reminds you of an old witch, with a stout stature, a drooping posture and a thick mat of untamed hair. Unable to completely shed its stringy bark, the witch-like tree collects the detritus in the ‘Y’ of its trunk. The long strips droop to the ground and form an intense mass about the tree’s base like a curtain that’s hiding a great secret.
Perhaps it reminds you less of a witch’s hair and more of an eighteenth century ball gown. In any case, the promise of a secret entices you.
You approach the centre of Mother Nature’s auditorium and reach out to touch the witch’s ball gown. The strips of bark part before you as if to welcome you in. The light that emanates from within fills you with a sense of calm. The wispy voice of the wind compels you to delve deeper into the mysterious stack of bark. It’s so bright inside that you don’t notice the light of day disappearing behind you.
Somehow, you know where the light is coming from. You know it’s nothing bad. The wind is blowing harder now – It’s telling you that everything will be fine.
The light glows brighter and the wind whips into a flurry. The little red flowers are being plucked from the melaleucas in a cyclonic swirl that’s catapulting them skyward. “Everything will be fine!” The wind is screaming.
The light grows to an unbearable intensity. The wind blows the consciousness from you. Suddenly, you’re twenty feet tall overlooking the clearing in the trees and someone’s running off with your clothes! You try to give chase but your feet are stuck. You’re rooted to the ground! The wind begins to laugh at you. You look down at your feet, but you cant see it past the stringy bark that’s collected around your waist. Little red flowers litter the ground like fallout after the previous tumult.
The wind laughs, and laughs. “You’re one of us now.“