Miranda’s Daily Blog: Day 94

I looked out over the forest that I have looked out over everyday for three months. But I saw it with new eyes. The rain drops ran down my face, dripped into my eyes, blurring my view. I let them fall without wiping them away. I watched silently. I don’t know how long I stood there for. Taking in each subtle movement of the forest. The trees shifting in the breeze, the rain becoming softer and heavier.  A shimmer of sunlight penetrating the clouds for a moment, turning leaves from green to gold and then back to green again as the clouds reclaim the sky. I watch the raindrops gather in little lines on the underside of my tree’s branches. The leaves become heavy and start to droop with the weight of water droplets that slide gracefully down the leaf’s spine, hesitating for a moment at the very tip, before letting go. I reach my hand out to the branch. I have come to know this branch so well, I sit on it, lean against it, even do some of my exercises supporting my weight with it, and I always look out at the forest through the window it makes around my view. But now I really get to know it. In a way I have not seen it before. I touch each crease. The wrinkles that gather underneath. They are like the soft wrinkles of that once gathered in the fold’s of my Nana’s skin, but as though they have suddenly been turned to stone. The wood hard beneath my hand. On these branches the bark is smooth and when you look at it, there are more colours on the branch than it is even possible to describe. Shifting shades of greens and brown.

I know they like to call environmentalists “tree huggers” as an insult. And without wanting to play into their stereotypes, I have to say, that I love this tree. I love every crease in the bark. The little hollows where spiders retreat to each night. The hanging strips of bark that seem to have peeled away a little more each time i look at them. The flowers that have come and gone. Floating away on the breeze to join with the millions of other golden migrating flowers, softly twisting and turning in the air.

Lately I haven’t felt like writing. I haven’t really felt like talking. Strange, I know, since my last correspondence with you was all about feeling lonely. But in this strangely meditative quietness I just feel like watching. quietly. I’m not thinking about the campaign, or about what I might have for dinner, or who I’d like to call me up on the phone. I am not really thinking about anything at all. Just taking it all in. Really watching, really seeing.

I touch my hands against the tree. And I feel for the first time I am really acknowledging it’s presence. I realise how strange it is that I wait for birds to  visit in order to break my loneliness. When actually I have never really been alone. This whole time I have been in the presence of this magnificent tree. It has quietly kept me company.

This tree has been growing for hundreds of years in this forest. It has known many creatures, birds and insects in its life. They have come and gone. As will I. It has been home to many. Now it is home to me. Thinking of the stories people have told me about plants, I wonder if there tree notices me and how it responds to my presence here.  I think about the information people have relayed to me, of experiments done with plants, proving that they do in fact react to people. You probably know the ones, experiments showing that plants change if people want to cause them harm or if people care for them. I hope my tree knows that I am here to do my best. I hope my tree knows.

 “Dear Tree,

I want to tell you why I am here. In case you have been wondering what this is all about. These ropes, this platform, and this strange human! It is very unusual to have a human move into your branches, I know. The thing is that there are some people out there who want to come and cut you down. They want to cut down and burn this whole forest around you. I want to help protect you. But I don’t know if I can.

I want to help the world see how magnificent you are. I want to share the beauty of this forest with people so that they will help to stop the destruction. But I don’t know if we can stop it in time.

I have loved other trees before. I just want to be up front and honest about that. I knew well a tree that I called “front sit” not too far from here. I promised Front Sit that I would defend it. Prehaps I was naive and I didn’t realise the power wielded by those who are in the business of destruction. I thought if I cared enough I could save Front Sit. I don’t want to worry you. But I want to tell you the truth. Front sit is gone now. I watched as the chainsaws tore through its flesh, their motor’s howling. Pools of woodchips spreading across the ground. I watched as Front Sit heaved and cracked. I watched as Front Sit hit the ground. And from then on I quietly watch the stump left behind, and I am filled with regrets. I am sorry I promised protection that I could not offer. I don’t want to have any illusions with you, Tree. When they come, they may come with a force so powerful that I can do nothing against their chainsaws, their machines, their money, their greed. I will not make you any promises I cannot keep.

Yet, my Tree, I want you to know that I will do all that I can. That I am doing all that I can. Right now. And although I am afraid that I cannot do enough in enough time, I have not given up hope.

Tree, I want you to know that I love you. And although you do not know them, there are many others who love you too. Many who have seen your branches, from right across the globe. I wish you could know, as I do, how many there are who love you. And who are doing everything they can to stop the madness of destruction.

Thank you, Tree. Thank you for having me. For keeping me safe in your arms. I hope that we will know each other for a long time to come. I hope that one day when I don’t live up in your canopy any longer I will be able to come to visit you. I hope that you will be free to keep growing tall and strong. I hope you will know many more animals and birds and insects and give them shelter for years to come. And I hope when you are old and your time comes, that you can fall to the earth in peace. That your body can lay on the forest floor and be taken back in by this forest to give new life.

All my love, Miranda”

I lie flat on my stomach, peering over the edge of the platform. I look down the trunk of my tree. I take in the shape and size of every branch, trying to sketch it into my memory. I never want to forget my tree. I look far down to the ground, where its trunk rises up from the dirt. Its roots stretching deep down below. I run my eyes over every detail and take it all in as I have never done before.

I have not written you a blog in a week, I know. And I am sorry. The last time I wrote I spoke about isolation and loneliness. I have found it difficult to know what to write to you lately. Now I have so much I want to share, but some of it is hard to describe in words. It has been a new journey for me. From this feeling of isolation to a new connection to this tree and this forest. And I feel an uncanny strengthening of my resolve. It’s getting close to 100 days up here now. I feel like I could stay another hundred. Whatever it takes to see an end to the wasteful destruction.

I want to say thank you to everyone who has been writing comments on my blog. My last post has 28 comments so far! I really love reading your comments. And especially after the last blog, I felt a lot less alone from all the encouragement and support that you showed. So, thank you. I’m very sorry for not writing much this past week.  Some days I am so inspired to write, I just sit down and write and write. Other days I struggle to know what to say. So, I hope you will forgive me for the short breaks in blogging.

Thank you,
Miranda

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Posted on March 17, 2012, in Daily Blog. Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. wow do you ever get lonly or scared up there i love what youre doing for natur im 10 you are a good person and are there a animals what you have been studying over the last three months and my names cheyanna 🙂

  2. i would like to be there but i cant
    😦

  3. Sorry to hear about Front Sit and I hope you do get to come back and visit this tree a long long time into the future.

  4. Oh Miranda, as always your words are truly inspirational!!!
    I am so in awe of the dedication you have, and the sacrifices you make for your beliefs. Beliefs that so many share and do their best to honor.
    You are amazing and so courageous! As is your beautiful tree..
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
    Stay strong xo

  5. And I love you for loving your tree. It knows you’re there to help. What a courageous and compassionate person you are. I salute you and your tree. Take Care!

  6. thankyou for what you are doing miranda, and thankyou for sharing this intimate experience with us all. its a pleasure to experience that insight through you and hear echoed my own feelings and experiences to a degree, i study botany at uni as well as extensively through personal interest and its heartening to hear first hand of such a relationship with as impressive an organism as an old growth eucalyptus. makes me smile. reminds me of when i was up the sit at camp floz, looking 50+ meters down the trunk of an ancient living creature that is supporting your life up there with its own puts something special in you, that first night under the stars above the canopy was one i will treasure my whole life i feel. thanks for re-inspiring me to get back out to the forests and up trees too. can’t wait for the easter skill share so i can learn to arb properly 😀
    my thoughts go out to you and i’d love to come out and visit you soon if you’re good with that 🙂
    much love ~ dan

  7. Christèle Oudin

    Thanks Miranda to share those special feelings, i can almost fell the tree and i already love all these trees around you!!!! Gratitude and Respect for your action and your heart

  8. spero che qualcuno possa tradurre ciò che sto per scriverti, perchè non riuscirei a esprimermi bene nella tua lingua. troppe emozioni ho provato leggendoti, ed ancora ora che ti scrivo ho gli occhi che stentano a trattenere le lacrime. mi sembrava di essere con te sull’albero, sentivo la sua corteccia, vedevo i suoi rami e le sue foglie. Sentivo la pioggia addosso e il rumore di questa su di lui.e soprattutto la sua v ita che dipendeva da me e la mia che dipendeva da lui. Ti ringrazio per tutto quello che stai facendo,ti auguro di resistere più a lungo possibile. Comunque vadano le cose tu hai già vinto e anche il tuo albero ha vinto perchè ha trovato un grande amico. Spero tu stia sempre bene e che qualcuno ti protegga. in attesa di leggerti presto, con grande amore per te e per lui, paola

  9. Maree and Andy

    The inspiration that your tree and surrounding forest gives to you, is like the inspiration you give to so many by your courage and determination to stand up for what is right. Thanks for caring. 🙂

  10. Miranda, this is so beautiful and very touching. You are amazing!

  11. ‘Eden is here now. We inherently know this and have experienced this already. If we have forgotten it as an adult, the child within us knows it. We can reignite the experience of those childhood days when the world seemed brighter, the stars more brilliant, and the grass a deeper hue of green. We all have the ability to become something new when we are filled with the elixir of Nature.’

    ~ Catriona MacGregor, ‘Partnering with Nature: The wild path to reconnecting with the Earth’ (2010).

    The identified conservation value of the Styx and Mount Field are

    * Identified as having World Heritage significance
    * Extensive areas of contiguous oldgrowth forest (including with the World Heritage Area)
    * Superlative example of the tallest flowering plants in the world (E.regnans)
    * Superlative example of Tall Eucalypt forest (E.regnans with transition to E. delegatensis) intimately associated with Gondwana cool temperate rainforest
    * Contains seven of the state’s 10 tallest trees (Giant Trees Consultative Committee, 2004).
    * Habitat for threatened species including Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagles, Tasmanian Devils and Spotted-tailed quolls.
    * Visual amenity, including from Tourism icons
    * A range of crucial water catchments

    Professor Jonathan West of UTas, leading the Independent Verification Group (IVG), is the gatekeeper for deciding the fate of Tasmania’s Nature at risk – the 572,000 hectares of forest homes to thousands of wildlife.

    “The Independent Verification Group, supported by a Technical Working Group and
    other experts as required, will:
    1. Assess and provide advice about stakeholder claims relating to conservation values,
    areas and boundaries of potential reserves from within the ENGO-nominated 572,000
    2 hectares of High Conservation Value native forest (as required by Clauses 20 and 28 of
    the Intergovernmental Agreement).

    The members of the Independent Verification Group are:

    Chair Professor Jonathan West
    Dr Robert (Bob) Smith
    Dr Michael Lockwood
    Professor Brendan Mackey
    Professor Mark Burgman
    Professor Ross Large

    “In undertaking this work, the independent verification process will examine ENGO and
    other stakeholder claims relating to conservation values, taking into account all
    currently available information, and using criteria and a methodology to be developed
    by the Independent Verification Group in consultation with the Reference Group of
    Signatories. The process will also identify appropriate reserve boundaries that would
    be necessary to protect the conservation values that are identified by this process.”
    (18-Aug-2011)

    The IVG is to “Submit a final report to the Prime Minister and the Premier on or before 31 December 2011, on the results of the verification process as per the draft report above, and taking into consideration any feedback supplied by governments through the Intergovernmental Taskforce.”

    On 19th August 2011, Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised “The Verification Group will submit a draft report to both governments before 1 December (2011).

    A final report, taking into consideration feedback supplied by governments will be submitted to the Prime Minister and the Premier by 31 December (2011).”

    Where are these results? That was 11 weeks ago.

    IGA Clause 45.”The Governments (Aust & Tas) will ask the Signatories to report annually to both Governments on the durability of, and the Signatories ongoing commitment to, the Agreement. The first report will be required by 30 June 2012.”

    That is 15 weeks away.

    Refs:

    http://www.pm.gov.au/press-office/protecting-tasmanian-forests-and-jobs

    http://www.dier.tas.gov.au/forests/tasmanian_forests_agreement/verification_process

    {includes:

    * Advice provided by Forestry Tasmania to Jonathon West – 18 August 2011, (PDF)
    * FT Coupe activity list for 430,000 hectares, (PDF)}

  12. John Considine

    as we change ourselves, so does our world reflect that change… dear sweet Miranda

  13. What a beautiful piece of poetic writing. Made me cry and smile at the same time. We love you!

  14. That beautiful Tree knows your beautiful Soul Miranda xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  15. Dear Miranda

    Than you for caring and taking action. You are amazing. Just wanted to know I am thinking of you. I have just spent a few days in Lamington National Park marvelling at the wonderful trees ancient trees, the light falling through the rainforest canopy and wonderful smell of the forest after rain. Look after yourself and remember you are not alone.

  16. Miranda, your connection with this tree and Front Sit has opened me more to all trees and the lives they lead. Thank you for that. And thank you for doing the work of protection. I appreciate it.

  17. Beautiful writing based on equally beautiful sentiments, Miranda. Our Earth is beautiful, unique and vulnerable and your tree embodies those qualities. It has become a powerful symbol of defiance against the destructive side of humanity, but it’s also more than a symbol. As you point out, it’s a living entity that is much older than any of us and worthy of our care and respect.

  18. You are so beautiful. You are so strong. Just like your tree. Thank you so much for your strength. thank you so much for the growth you are achieving which through all grows. Hope to see you and tree again soon. Love you both.

  19. I live to hug my sassy.

    Oh, it’s so cool. Its trunk splits into two stems about a metre from the ground and continues on up. Its smooth whitish bark is always cool. It stands beside a little creek that is so gorgeous. Between it and a blackwood that is two-three metres away, is the side boundary of our property in Liffey. Bob B. marked that part of my boundary with another bloke way back when…

    When I get to that spot ‘near my front fence’ and by the big rock that sits in the creek, sometimes I stick my head into the fork of the sassy right down to the bottom of the V of the two trunks. Each trunk touches my temple, and I can feel the coolness against the sides of my head. My nose is buried in moss, at the join and there is an asplenium fern growing at the junction of the trunks. I put my arms around the two trunks, with my temples against each each.

    The smell of the bush, of the moss, of the sassy in the air, of the humus on the ground; the sound of the creek in moderate descent. The sunlight through the holes in the canopy. The now-and-then avian calls. The solid immutability of the tree. It will take a long time to understand it. What is it saying?

    I love to hug my sassy.

  20. Hi Miranda, love your work. Here’s a poem you may enjoy:
    TREES
    Go towards the high growing Trees,
    And before one of them
    Which is beautiful, high growing and mighty,
    Say thou these words:
    Hail be unto Thee!
    O good living Tree,
    Made by the Creator.
    In the days of old, when the Creation was young,
    The earth was filled with giant trees,
    Whose branches soared above the clouds,
    And in them dwelled our Ancient Fathers,
    They who walked with the Angels,
    And who lived by the Holy Law.
    In the shadow of their branches all men lived in peace,
    And wisdom and knowledge was theirs,
    And the revelation of the Endless Light.
    Through their forests flowed the Eternal River,
    And in the center stood the Tree of Life,
    And it was not hidden from them.
    They ate from the table of the Earthly Mother,
    And slept in the arms of the Heavenly Father,
    And their covenant was for eternity with the Holy Law.
    In that time the trees were the brothers of men,
    And their span on the earth was very long,
    As long as the Eternal River,
    Which-flowed without ceasing
    From the Unknown Spring.
    Now the desert sweeps the earth with burning sand,
    The giant trees are dust and ashes,
    And the wide river is a pool of mud.
    For the sacred covenant with the Creator
    Was broken by the sons of men,
    And they were banished from their home of trees.
    Now the path leading to the Tree of Life
    Is hidden from the eyes of men,
    And sorrow fills the empty sky
    Where once the lofty branches soared.
    Now into the burning desert
    Come the Children of Light,
    To, labour in the Garden of the Brotherhood.
    The seed they plant in the barren soil
    Will become a mighty forest,
    And trees shall multiply
    And spread their wings of green
    Until the whole earth be covered once again.
    The whole earth shall be a garden,
    And the tall trees shall cover the land
    In that day shall sing the Children of Light a new song:
    My brother, Tree!
    Let me not hide myself from thee,
    But let us share the breath of life
    Which our Earthly Mother has given to us.
    More beautiful than the finest jewel
    Of the rug maker’s art,
    Is the carpet of green leaves under my bare feet;
    More majestic than the silken canopy of the rich merchant,
    Is the tent of branches above my head,
    Through which the bright stars give light.
    The wind among the leaves of the cypress
    Makes a sound like unto a chorus of angels.
    Through the rugged oak and royal cedar
    The Earthly Mother has sent a message of Eternal Life
    To the Heavenly Father.
    My prayer goes forth unto the tall trees:
    And their branches reaching skyward
    Shall carry my voice to the Heavenly Father.
    For each child thou shall plant a tree,
    That the womb of thy Earthly Mother
    Shall bring forth life,
    As the womb of woman doth bring forth life.
    He who doth destroy a tree
    has cut off his own limbs.
    Thus shall sing the Children of Light,
    When the earth again shall be a garden:
    Holy Tree, divine gift of the Law!
    Thy majesty reunites all those
    Who have strayed from their true home,
    Which is the Garden of the Brotherhood.
    All men will become brothers once again
    Under thy spreading branches.
    As the Heavenly Father has loved all his children,
    So shall we love and care for the trees
    That grow in our land,
    So shall we keep and protect them,
    That they may grow tall and strong,
    And fill the earth again with their beauty.
    For the trees are our brothers,
    And as brothers,
    We shall guard and love one another.

    From: The Essene Gospel of Peace

    Cheers
    Kerry

  21. Marjo Chambers

    Dear Miranda – This post and your letter to the Tree motivate me away from unnecessary busyness and take me into the contemplative memories of my own soul. You are a true mystic – thank you for so generously and beautifully sharing.

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