Tag Archives: Nature

Are Trees More Than Meets The Eye?

There’s something mysterious about trees if you stop long enough to look, really look.

Do you notice the face in the tree? Eyes and ears, or their bushy brows? Do you see a long proud nose, or a bulbous one? Or do you feel a surge of something-or-other wash over and through you so unexpectedly that your hairs stand on end and goosebumps erupt all over your body?

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Who is the greatest artist of bespoke masterpieces?

Could it be an impressionist? A sculptor? An architect? A painter?

Is it Banksy? Nick Cave? Ai Weiwei? Johnny Depp?

Humankind has been blessed with gifted artists of all categories beginning when cavemen first picked up bits of rock and scratched animals and stuff on cavern walls (they possibly discovered fire this way too – think flint, sparks and let’s get the hell out of here!) .

Michelangelo sculpted David in all his glory as did Alexandros of Antioch but with the Venus de Milo (and minus limbs – not sure what happened there). Da Vinci painted the mysterious Mona Lisa while Monet painted the glorious Water Lily Pond. There’s no denying these are magnificent works of art. Continue reading

Wish I’d glued carpet on my heels

Several weeks ago, feeling spontaneous and adventurous, I took myself off to the Boondall Wetlands – all 1500 hectares of it. Fifteen kilometres from Brisbane’s Central Business District the Wetlands consist of tidal flats, mangroves, grasslands, bushland and saltmarshes – if you’re flying in or out of Brisbane airport look out your window and you’ll probably see it.

Little did I realise I was also about to step into bird watching territory.

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Doing something different by looking up

‘Keep looking up…that’s the secret of life…’ ~ Snoopy

Sitting hunched over, staring at the floor swimming in a sea of emotion, I decide to stand up and look up – a technique I know will clear the foam in my head.

My eyes look towards the sky and while I first see this…

Sky shot in black and white over Brisbane 11.06.2016

The sky was a vivid blue though in black and white the image is rather moody

…colour begins to creep in and my heart lightens. I see the depth of blue and white of the sky and notice the swirling, waving, and fluffy cloud patterns, something which the ocean mirrors.

The sky, a fascinating panorama any time of day.

Coming home on the train recently, stratocumulus clouds (round and fluffy all in rows) lined the western sky in colours of crimson, red and gold. Lucky for the fellow next to me I restrained myself enough not to rip his arm off in my excitement (hey, I’m the excitable type). It’s not every day the sky puts on such a show. My mum would say it’s the angels hanging out their washing in which case I want their wardrobe.

Whenever I look up, it changes my focus, peaks my curiosity, and gives me something constructive to think about. It also allows me creative playtime with photographs such as the lone pelican below, sitting up high on a light pole.

Hornibrook Bridge

A lone pelican sits atop a light pole – a common sight near the Pelican Park just over the Hornibrook Bridge Brisbane

Some days the sky is mesmerising and photograph-worthy but I can’t stress enough that watching where you’re walking is good for your health. Earlier this year while attempting to capture a photo of a butterfly fluttering above me, something compelled me to look down. I watched in horror as a whip snake slithered past my sandaled feet. My frightened toes remain curled to this day.

Looking up gives my neck respite from reading hardcopy books, my mobile device (you’ve heard of text neck right?), and computer keyboard. The best thing is I see what’s going on in the world around me – winning!!

Have fun 🙂

Tree Hugger gets Tree Hugged

A tree hugger from way back, I was in my element several months back when I decided to explore more of the countryside south-west of Brisbane.

Crossing over the Great Dividing Range and through Cunningham’s Gap can be somewhat of a white knuckle drive although the views of the mountain ranges does make it worthwhile. Pulling in to the carpark at the top of the Gap can be a blink and miss affair if you’re unfamiliar with the area because it appears quite suddenly – drive too fast and you’ll probably miss it.

It’s worth stopping for a leg stretch though. The rainforest is visually stunning and I couldn’t help but feel I’d landed on the movie set of Jurassic park. Now trees I adore, but dinosaurs – yeah…nuh.

Cunningham's Gap

Walking along the track I was in awe of this old rainforest, the bird call, and only slightly nervous hearing the rustling of something big in the undergrowth

The afternoon sun was beginning to disappear above the trees, bird call echoed through the trees, and just beyond the track animals of some description rummaged about in the undergrowth. Water dripped from leaves into puddles though I barely watched where I was going, instead I spent most of my time looking at the canopy of trees, most of which were covered in huge bird’s-nest ferns. My dad would have fallen over in awe at their sheer size and volume!

Rainforest tree Cunninghams Gap

Throughout the rainforest huge trees reached for the sky

Because light was fading I turned around and explored the other side of the carpark and came upon this lovely tree covered from top to bottom of these vibrant green leaves. The only way I could take a decent photograph with my phone was to practically stand against and under it. It was another wow moment for me of which there were many ♥

Cunningham's Gap vine covered tree

The air was thick though the temperature cool beneath the canopy of these glorious trees

Beside the green leaved tree was a tree (small strangler fig methinks) I’m sure housed a tree spirit, or maybe many – I’m not quite sure how any spirits take up residence within a tree.

Standing beside this tree a feeling of love and happiness washed over me, then enveloped me – like a huge energy hug – a feeling with stayed with me all the way back home. I’d never been hugged by a tree before but I like it ♥

I took the photograph below in memory of this tree and the tree hug it bestowed upon me.

Cunninghams Gap Walking Track

Although surrounded by a forest of trees, it was this tree where I felt peace, love, and harmony…strange but true…

Hug a tree today, you might get lucky and get hugged right back 🙂

Exploring my Assumption

On my way to Warwick, west of Brisbane, I pass a road sign in Aratula to Lake Moogerah.

I’d driven this way before and heard the lake was a dam. Imagining dull brown water, tufts of yellow grass bordering the sparse shoreline (don’t ask me why), and lots of quiet nothingness left me with thoughts of meh. My assumption was good enough reason to stay on the highway rather than drive the 12 kms to the dam.

This time I make a mental note to explore the lake on my return trip home.

Later that day…

Driving back to Brisbane on my return trip I take the Lake Moogerah turnoff.

This is what I see…

Moogerah Dam

A breathtaking view of Lake Moogerah and the surrounding mountains of the glorious scenic rim

I also see this…

Moogerah Dam motor boats

Motorised vessels permitted on the lake – it was a busy on the water with small boats and jet skis

And this…

Moogerah Dam Wall

Walking along the dam wall, the view was stunning – even looking down

I’ve never been so deliciously surprised! My wrongful assumption of a dull brown dam to what actually is – a wonderfully vibrant body of water surrounded by mountains was breathtaking.

What’s not to love?

So happy I decided to check out my assumption – win/win ♥

Birdsnest Crysal Castle

The Ultimate Music Concert Starring – Plants

It’s early autumn when I head down the M1 from Brisbane to Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens nestled in Byron Shire’s hinterland of northern New South Wales Australia.

An easy two-hour drive I arrive mid-morning, the humidity bearable and the ambient temperature a comfortable 28o Celsius. Every now and I again I walk through a pocket of cool air – deliciously divine.

Spread over five hectares (12.4 acres) this ever-evolving property sits on an area of the Tweed volcano where lava flowed approximately 23 million years ago. Crystals of varying sizes are scattered through gardens and benches strategically placed to take advantage of the verdant surroundings.

Byron Shire Hinterland Crystal Castle

Views that roll on forever

Plant Communication

A lifelong nature lover, the Castle’s Music of the Plants experience is why I’m here. Research shows trees communicate with each other[i] as do other plants[ii] by releasing volatile chemicals. According to an article by Christine Hse dated Jun 11, 2012, Scientists Confirm that Plants Talk and Listen To Each Other, Communication Crucial for Survival[iii] they not only respond to sound but communicate to each other by making clicking sounds. Knowing this I’m curious as to how plant communication translates into music.

This experience began 40 years ago in Damanhur[iv] – an award-winning spiritual eco-community in the Piedmont region of northern Italy when Damanhur researchers designed a device capable of capturing the sound a plant makes, by connecting it to the plant’s leaves and roots. In effect this device picked up the plant’s electrical emanation and produced sound.

Fast forward to the present and I’m in the Castle’s Peace Room, now filled to capacity. Facilitator, Sjha’ra of Chocolate Yoga (worthy of its own story) welcomes us. The rock stars of the show, six potted plants and a synthesiser, sit beside her. Two electrodes are plugged into the device, the conductor has a nail attached and is placed into the soil around the root of the plant, the other is attached to the upper leaves. We learn that once an electrical connection is made, the algorithm is translated by the Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) producing sound through the synthesiser.

The Concert

While hooking up the electrodes Sjha’ra introduces a Madonna lily. We’re told that to hear the best music an open heart is required and we’re instructed to project feelings of love toward Madonna.

An elderly gent in the front row turns to a young lady three seats across mouthing ‘Love?’ Smiling she nods. He mouths ‘love?’ three more times before turning to the front.

Now we sit and wait. Sjha’ra informs us that while these plants produce music, not all plants do and in fact need to be trained. My eyelids flutter wildly analysing this training concept. I later research plant training and discover trainers expose them to different music, handle them, and talk to them.

My mind wanders back to a 1986 interview where Prince Charles said he talked to plants. In a Daily Mail article of 2 March 2013 written by Rebecca Evans, Prince Charles further stated that these days he also instructs them. Kudos to His Royal Highness.

Back in the room Sjha’ra smiles touching Madonna’s leaves to encourage a response. ‘Maybe Madonna’s shy?’ she muses.

Madonna beeps once, pauses, then plays a delightful riff of experimental music. Goosebumps explode while I listen transfixed to the melody.

While Sjha’ra enlightens us with the music’s history, I mentally promise to become a better caretaker of my plants and shower them with love. I suspect there are others in the room thinking much the same.

A young agave Sjha’ra hasn’t worked with before is the last performer. Shy at first the plant takes a few moments to warm up. We send it more love. Sjha’ra jumps in surprise at its first note and smiles at the plant. Another beep, followed by a longer tone. Tentatively Agave plays several notes, picks up the pace before slowing down again. I’m unable to shake the feeling that this agave’s communication style is much like a two-year old, and subsequently fall in love with it.

After the concert I ask Sjha’ra about people’s reactions to this experience. She tells me there are many, recalling an older woman who at 65-year-old had never owned an indoor plant. “She always had plastic plants because she didn’t like messing around with plants, and didn’t want the responsibility of caring for them. Underneath all that was the fear of killing the plants.”

After her plant music experience, she bought her first indoor plant – one is truly never too old to begin something new.

It’s no secret that plants and music have healing qualities, and from a personal point of view found the combination of both to be profound and a reminder to become a better guardian of the surrounding plant life.

[i] http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2015/05/20/4236600.htm – Do trees communicate with each other
[ii] http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/38727/title/Plant-Talk/
[iii] http://www.medicaldaily.com/scientists-confirm-plants-talk-and-listen-each-other-communication-crucial-survival-240775
[iv] http://www.damanhur.org/en/research-and-experimentation/the-plant-world