The reason I haven’t been blogging much over the past few years is because I’ve been hard at work writing a biography about my grandparents and my great uncle Peter Fannin, as well as working on a revision of my grandmothers wildflowers book. All of which takes up most of the writing energy I have!
The lovely thing is, I finally have some time off work to focus on these tasks. My husband, myself and our dog friend Rocky, are currently at a rural property in Nymboida, Northern NSW, living in a tiny home that is half the size of our old bedroom. We’re off grid and I’m in my element, with nature all around me.
Every morning, I either go for a long walk with Rocky, do some work on clearing a fire-break around the tiny house, or go into battle with the monstrous lantana groves. Afterwards, I come back red in the face and warm all over, with my heart thumping loud and hard in my chest. Each activity is giving me all forms of the exercise I know I need to stay healthy: strengthening my muscles, expanding my flexibility, and improving my cardiovascular health. Then I sit down and write for the rest of the day, with breaks here and there for cooking, conversations and gardening. We are usually in bed by 8pm and up again at the crack of dawn.
Not long after we arrived, I found what immediately became my favourite tree on the block, not far from the house, just inside the area that had been designated as “must be cleared” territory by the fire-fighting neighbour. The tree drew me in and enchanted me, even from a distance, and when I got closer I could see it was in full bloom! It seemed so familiar to me, as though I should know what it was… like a friend’s name you’ve forgotten.
The mysterious identity nagged at me for weeks until one day we were in the carpark at Bunnings and I looked up to find a kurrajong in flower beside me. I’d never met this particular kind of kurrajong before, but I just knew it was a kurrajong- no mistaking that flower and leaf shape. Something went click and I started to wonder if my new friend on the block was a kurrajong. I’ve since discovered it’s a brachychiton populneus, a kurrajong native to the east coast of Australia.
I’ve been so busy with writing and lantana-pulling that I haven’t had a chance to visit my new friend in the past week, so I started going in spirit at night. The first time I went, I was amazed by the quantity and diversity of nature spirits around this tree. Even more so, the potency of them. We had a conversation about a near-miss the tree had had, when Stephen and I cut down a messy tangle of dead trees leaning against a live tree, that the previous owner had created during his own unfinished clearing work. The dead trees were precariously balanced and had to come down for safety’s sake but the only way we could safely bring them down was to cut down the tree that was holding them up. Besides which, the supporting tree was in the “you must clear a fire-break around your house” zone.
“Can we please not cut down my favourite tree?” I asked my husband. He agreed. Unfortunately, it was only a few metres away from the messy tangle that did have to come down. We did everything we could to try to get the poor condemned tree and its dangerous load to fall away from the kurrajong. After some strategic chainsaw cutting and ratchet-strap rigging, we went back to the house and waited. Nothing happened for about 15 minutes and then we heard the first cracks and watched from the distance. At first, the messy tangle headed straight for the kurrajong and then everything seemed to pause, as though in slow motion, and gracefully sweep off to one side. The kurrajong lost a few branches, but it survived!
In my night-time spirit-conversation with the kurrajong, it showed me a movie-replay of the event. I could see a cushion of air appear above the kurrajong as the trees came towards it, deflecting everything away from it, as though the kurrajong had protected itself. The attitude behind the image shown felt a little like someone dusting their hands off and putting their hands on their hips in a sassy way, as though to say “I can take care of myself thank you!” Ha!
After this image was shown, I was invited to sit under the tree, and the flowers gave me some healing. It almost felt like a Harry Potter sorting-hat was coming down over my head, but instead of sorting me into some kind of group, it was helping me sort my thoughts. Then I could feel energy lines from my head slowly being cleared all the way down to my feet. Kurrajong species’ definitely have a grounding action! As this happened, I spoke to the tree, and it explained that it was helping me focus my thoughts, rather than wasting time on ideas or lines of thought that weren’t practical.
I’ve been back to visit the tree at night a few times now. Last night I asked the kurrajong flower-spirit for healing, because I was in pain from an old injury that had flared up. The healing began and not long into it, the imagery shimmered and I could feel the kurrajong step back. In it’s place appeared an entirely different flower. In my mind, I kind of zoomed in, the way you would with a camera lens, to get a closer look. At first I was puzzled, then I realised it was an orchid. But I hadn’t seen any orchids of that colour on the block, and I knew from the mood of the shift from one flower to another that this orchid must be somewhere on the block, not far from the kurrajong.
Both the kurrajong and the orchid insisted I had already met the orchid. Confused, I ran though my memory of the many walks and then suddenly remembered seeing a single stem, like a grass stem, with tiny little pods on it that might have been closed flowers. They had the same colour as this orchid. “Is this you?” I asked, showing the orchid my memory. “Yes! I’m in flower now. Come and visit me tomorrow.”
So this morning I dutifully headed off in search for the flower, half-chuckling at myself for believing my night-time imaginings, and wondering how I was going to find such a tiny flower on 100 acres of land. I said hello to the kurrajong on the way past, stopped to photograph a bird, and spent a good 10 minutes searching for the orchid. I knew I’d seen it down near the creek bank somewhere, but where? I was just about to give up when I decided to try one more area. There was a lot of dead wood and bark on the ground and my first few steps almost up-ended me, because there were large holes hidden beneath them. Feeling a bit worried, I started to back away when I looked up and there it was! The orchid, in magnificent bloom!
How beautiful! Anyway, had to share this magic moment with you. On the way back, we visited the strawberry gum we planted a month ago. It’s doing really well and is one of the many bush-tucker plants I want to grow here in the lantana-reclaimed areas. It’s said to bring the flavours out in a dish. We’ve also planted a native mint and a finger lime, and I’d love to plant some macadamias!