'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Friday, 28 May 2010

The Eucalyptus Tree on Wellesley Street

I don't go to cities very often, so when we went to Auckland recently I was a bit like a kid. Unlike all the workers and regulars who trot along from A to B with their heads fixed on straight and their gaze inward, I look around all the time, gawping at all the 90 degree edges, metal and shine, steel and glass and concrete all around. It amazes me how very unrelentingly fabricated humans can make their environment. Almost everywhere one looks there is only hard inorganic surfaces, and yet the people still survive.

So it was almost with unreasonable joy I spotted this gum tree in the heart of the city. Isn't it so informal, so wonderfully curved, so deliciously disorganised and patchy ? I especially loved the armpit! And I don't care that people were looking at me as I pressed my front to the tree to take the shot straight up the trunk. Perhaps they even remembered the next day as they hurried past on their habitual track, and looked at it, and gave themselves a little dose of healthy natural.


  1. I love looking at trees too. In barren city scapes it is so refreshing to see reality and greenery.

  2. I loved the creases in the wood. I can't recall seeing that before. Must look more closely.

    One of the really important things that blogging has done for me is make me look at my environment every minute of the day. I can understand how you felt ;hugging' the tree. I've been caught in a busy street on my knees photographing the pavement - well that's what it looked like until you got down there and discovered the world I was actually photographing.

  3. Where the limb meets the trunk - it really is like skin creases. Well spotted! All that inorganic fabrication - the glass, the steel, the sharp edges, the natureless wilderness of the cityscape, it's not how human beings were meant to pass their days. Our very DNA was partly shaped by all those preceding millennia in which our relationship with nature was vivid and unavoidable.

  4. Gorgeous shots! I've never seen one that big.

  5. Anonymous12.3.12

    Who chopped them all down?????????

  6. Meggie - It is indeed nice to give ones eyes a rest in the city by looking at living things
    GB - Blogging is a great way to increase awareness of the everyday, and the things around us. I know I sometimes think "oh, that would make a good little post!" I'm impressed that you got down on your knees in a busy street!
    YP - yes, cities are not places where my genes feel 'at home'.
    Dijea - thank you. The tree is probably not as big as it may have grown in the wilderness of Australia. Then again, we have a better tree-growing rainfall here...

    Everyone, I'm sorry at the lateness of these replies to your comments. Somehow this post's comments eluded me. Thank you for them!

    Anon - your comment today is a little confusing. Do you mean you feel there were more eucalyptus trees in Auckland in the past (I don't think so, they are not NZ natives), or has this one been chopped down since I did this post? (I sincerely hope not!)

  7. Talk about a blast from the past! I couldn't remember what you were talking about. That was nearly 2 years ago. Good heavens.

  8. It was, GB. Apologies for the delay!
    Additionally, removing word verification has brought a lot of commentators out of the woodwork...

  9. Anonymous13.3.12

    Who chopped down the Eucalyptus Trees on Wellesley Street. They have all been removed over the weekend.

  10. That's terrible anon! Why why why?? Were they a danger, because people were looking at them too much?? I'm very disappointed. This post, as you have read, was a spontaneous reaction to the best thing I had seen in Auckland in the whole of a two day visit. Such a pity.


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