Miranda’s Daily Blog: Day 185
Thursday marked exactly six months that I have been at the top of this tree.
It’s hard to believe that I have been in this tree for half a year! I think if someone had come up to me in the past and said that I would spend more than six months in a tree I wouldn’t have believed I ever could. But somehow the days turn into weeks and those weeks turn into months. And before long I have been in the tree for six months. It is amazing how adaptable humans can be. How I have just become so used to being up here that it feels normal now. Less and less often I find myself missing things about life on the ground. I just accept each day as it is, another day in a beautiful tree. Having said that, there is of course the other side to it, the knowledge as every day passes that this forest is still under threat. And that forests around Tasmania that have been verified as world heritage and national heritage value continue to be destroyed. I am reminded of this constantly as I look out across a landscape scarred by logging. And most importantly, over areas of pristine forest whose future is on the table.
Everyday the birds do their rounds. They come before sunset. It used to be around 6pm. Then it was more like 5, then 4. Now it is not long after 3. First the spotted pardelote comes. Then the groups of black headed and strong billed honey eaters. Often joined by one solitary yellow throat. There is one pair of black headed honey eaters that are always together, darting about each other. For a moment each day it is busy with the chaos of bird chatter and then they are gone. They move on to the tree with the hollow that looks like an owl and from there they make their way up the ridge. Though, it is of course weather dependent and on some days they don’t come. On the days when I want to stay wrapped up in a blanket, perhaps they want to do the same!
I had never been aware of how much a routine the birds have until this experience. I wondered what the birds would do if this forest ever gets logged. What would happen to their routine? And then it makes me wonder about all of the wildlife in this forest. I mean we pay so much attention to devils and quolls, because they are so significant due to being endangered. But there are also so many other creatures that live here. I can only imagine the disruption caused to all these species when their habitat is clearfelled and burnt. When you walk through a forest like this you hear so many birds singing and fluttering about. But sitting in the tree over such a long time, I feel like I have come to know these birds personally, as they visit my tree daily. And I begin to feel a sense of responsiblity for them. I sit and watch them and sometimes they watch me with a curious eye, head cocked to the side. They don’t seem scared of me anymore. But I feel like a traitor, because if only they knew that it is my species that has destroyed the homes of their friends and family in nearby forest. It is my species that may come in here one day soon and destroy their homes too.
It could have been midnight for all I knew when I woke up this morning. The stars were glowing in the sky. The moon, now a sliver of light hung above the tree tops. The valley below like a white lake, its forest hidden beneath a thick layer of fog that glowed silver in the moonlight. I checked the time – 6am. It’s amazing how it can be morning and still feel like night, now that we are in the middle of winter. I sat and watched the landscape change as the pre-dawn light slowly began to creep across the sky. When the glow of sunrise came, it brought with it brilliant pinks, oranges and reds that swept across the clouds above Mount Field. I thought to myself how lucky I am. It is something I am reminded of so often up here. How many people in the world get to see such a spectacular view every day?
As the final colours were fading from the clouds and the sun was at last showing it’s face above the mountain ridges, a hear a familiar whoosh whoosh whoosh of wings flapping – the distinct sound of carrawong wings. It must be Carra, the friendly Carrawong. And before long there she was on the branch near my tree that she always perches on. Looking at me with that gleaming eye, head tilted to the side. With a little jump she’s on the platform and hoping around, pecking at the floor in the hope of finding some tiny morsel of scraps. There isnt’ really anything for her to eat here, but she is hopeful anyway. She looks up at me again and we watch each other, still and silent. Again I think to myself, how lucky I am.
Yes, six months is a long time. Longer than I ever imagined I would stay in a tree. And there are of course things I dearly miss about life on the land! But I also know that this experience has been a life changing one. A chance to get to know a tree, a forest, a landscape and the creatures that are a part of this land. And now that I know it, my resolve has deepened even more. I will never be able to stand back and let the chain saws wipe this place from the face of the earth. I never want to stand in a burnt out and empty clearfell of a land I once knew. I never want to see a lost pardelote looking for its favorate tree, or hear the sad call of a carrawong flying through the haze of smoke.
This is just one tree in the forest. One group of honey eaters and one lone spotted pardelote. There are many more, right across Tasmania. That are just as important, only no one has had the chance to get to know them. So right now they fall in silence. Well, the sound is deafening to the devils hiding in their den. And the crash of trees falling is terrifying to the birds that fly away in a frantic uproar. But to the people of the world… it is completely silent. Because if no one is watching, no one is seeing, no one knows.
There are different ways of knowing. I know these forests in one way, the way of the observer. But there are some people who know these forests in a different capacity. The independent team of experts and scientists who have verified these forests know them in terms of their national and world heritage values, their carbon storage capacity, their important tracts of endangered species habitat and their water catchments. And through this knowledge they have declared this forest worthy of world heritage status. Over 560,000 hectares of forest in Tasmania has been declared to be of significant and in need of protection. We can not continue to go on not seeing the destruction, because we know now the importance of what it is we are losing. The forests cannot continue to fall in silence. But it is up to us to break that silence. It is up to us to speak up and speak out for these forests, because the honey eaters and pardelotes cannot. That is why I will continue to spread this message across the world. But I need help. Please take a minute to stand up for these forests.
Click here to take action.