A Study in Bark

I have been spending more time than usual lately out in the bush. Generally this is during my morning run where I am constantly surprised by new trees. It’s not that they appear, but I suddenly see them when I didn’t previously. Though I run the same route every day (near Mt Ainslie) I “meet” new trees every day. It almost feels as though they’ve been waiting for me to notice them and then suddenly I do. I suppose this is, in practice, what it is (in part) to deeply know a place, to connect with a location.

This is the complete opposite of being a ‘tourist’, who can only ever gloss over the surface of a land and who never has the time to really learn from a place. Tourists are merely occupied with their own pleasure and needs and they simply don’t have the time to notice everything about a place. This makes tourist saturated places incredibly one-dimensional as the things that are enhanced are simply the things that tourists (think they) want.

Nature is not one dimensional and it takes more than just sight-seeing or picture taking to really take in all the nuances of nature. I am learning this even now as I notice new things at every turn along my little trail.

It’s also often only when we stop and get down to nature’s level that we can actually see what it is, whether that’s to peer at tiny, perfect plants on the ground or to be silent – as I was this morning when I saw a fox (breathtaking!). I noticed this on Mt Ainslie yesterday when I hiked up with my children. All of a sudden I became enamoured with the bark on all the trees. I’d known but never really noticed before, and taken the time to take note of, the huge variety of tree form and bark formation of each tree. They were all completely unique! So then, a study of bark.

I thought this tree was rather amazing. The bark appeared to wrap its way around the tree as though the tree twisted as it grew. Does this happen? I don’t know enough about the growing habits of trees to know this, though I do know that the bark of a tree is indicative of the grain of the tree’s timber. I thought this was pretty cool, but it also makes sense when you think about how a tree grows (outward in rings).

It hailed while we were out on the mountain! I love catching Canberra’s rare hail drops. It was just a bit magical to be on the mountain at this time.   It’s fitting to finish with these two lovers: