25 March 2022

By gum, yet another tree's hit the dust ... or was it just hearsay?

| Sally Hopman
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Old tree

A stripped-back trunk is all that’s left of the huge gum that hit the ground – with or without making a noise. Photo: Sally Hopman.

You know the drill: if a tree falls in the bush when no one is there, did it make a sound?

I can’t swear to it, but I reckon when the two sides of the tree at the back of my place thundered to earth this week when no one was around, they would have heard it overseas.

This tree was my second favourite on the property, mainly because it was still upright when my favourite fell in a chainsaw-ed heap last year. Seems someone thought Favourite Tree was a danger to all because it was dead inside. But how many of us have felt dead inside yet have still been well enough to branch out to bigger and better things?

The latest casualty was also a favourite because it was so close to the house I could watch it daily to say nothing of the excellent kindling it dropped. It also housed lots of wildlife, most of which is now vindictively flying/crawling/sliming inside the house because they no longer have an outside one.

READ ALSO The tragic faraway tree weathered all storms bar one

Don’t know what it is about trees that make me want to take shelter, under, next to, or in them. Maybe because no two are ever the same? They move with the weather. They (mostly) stand tall against it. But we’ve just had so much rain these past months that perhaps Second Favourite Tree decided life was going along just that bit too swimmingly and it needed to drop its bundles.

On what I think was the morning after the night before when I didn’t notice most of a monster tree had come crashing down metres from my bedroom, I walked out the back, armed with my exceptional journalistic powers of observation.

“Something is different,” I told me.

The clothesline had never looked so bright. The sun was shining into places it had never shone before. The blue sky looked like it had found the panorama button on a camera.

“Something is definitely different,” super-brain (me) told the dogs. “Everything looks so much brighter. It’s like the sky has opened up to let in more stuff.”

The dogs, shaking their tails, their heads, and everything else that moved, trotted back to the kitchen to see what the delay was with their breakfast.

Old damaged tree

Turns out when thumping great branches of a tree fall, you can see a lot more sky. Who knew? Photo: Sally Hopman.

“OMG,” said super-brain, “those branches must have come down.” But with no proof because not a sound was heard, it became little more than a dog’s breakfast.

The scattered lumps of tree looked like a work of art. Clunky, veiny bits spread open for all to see their dangly bits. I wanted to knit them cover-up cardigans.

The tree was probably older than the years. It was that amazing grey-brown colour that only the oldies can sprout, not that it did much sprouting recently – or ever again. But it was a beauty.

Someone suggested it’d be good for firewood for the next few winters, but I’d rather go cold turkey if it meant I could get the tree back.

I’ve lost two in a year. No more, please – my bite is way worse than what’s left of any bark.

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Nice sky in the photos.

ChrisinTurner2:53 pm 27 Mar 22

There is no apparent protection of trees on public land, such as nature strips and parks.

You must be new around these parts. In Canberra, we buy SUV style vehicles and those Tonka Truck jalopies with the express purpose of mounting kerbs and getting off the road related areas. Even better if we get a friendly tree to park under because the interior stays cool. And those concerned about soil compaction are just nuts – the water runs off like it supposed to.

Surely you jest?
So many stories of people raising concerns to the ACT Government about the safety of the tree on the nature strip outside their house. Ony for someone to come and inspect the tree and declare it perfectly safe a week or two before it drops a large limb or falls over completely.

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