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Posts Tagged ‘web of life’

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The road that stretches before me is littered with a radiant patchwork of gold, crimson and russet. Yesterday’s sharp wind whined through the trees, shaking their branches, stripping and scattering all their coloured leaves. Today a gentle breeze brushes my face, filling the air with the last swirling leaves that settle over the ground. As I amble along on my walk I enjoy hearing their familiar swish and crunch under my feet.

Another stately procession also passes above me in the heavens: that of the Southern Cross … another yearly journey around that fixed, immutable point at the centre of the southern sky … another autumn.

Our Liquid Amber trees—Australia’s counterpart to the Canadian Maple—have now lost their leaves. Ahead on the pathway a last ruby leaf flutters to the ground and I bend down to retrieve it. Holding this five-pointed beauty and turning it over in my hand I admire its unique shape, the delicate tracings of its veins and the strong stem that once anchored it to the tree. Gazing back at the Liquid Amber it fell from, I realize that the tree is also one small part of a vast and intricate living system. 

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 A leaf transforms elements from its particular environment—sunlight, soil, carbon dioxide and rain—into nourishment for the entire tree. This exquisite and nearly weightless fallen leaf was a vital conduit to its branch, then to the trunk, and finally to its root system buried deep below. All living things inhale the oxygen produced by the tree’s respiration, which is inhaled back as carbon dioxide to nourish and sustain the tree. It’s impossible to know where one cycle begins and another ends.

 Another reason for this morning stroll includes an errand I must complete. A friend, away on a holiday, has asked me to drop a small package into her sister’s mailbox. “She won’t be home but will look for the package later. She  knows you are leaving it.” So in it goes, through the slot in a wooden barrel, now cleverly disguised as her mailbox.

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At one time the wood for this barrel was part of a forest. Someone was paid to cut and trim a tree into lumber and another to transport it to a workshop where a craftsman or cooper would construct the barrel. After its original use it now serves as a container to hold greetings from friends and family.

It’s good to see how much we recycle nature’s materials, rather than dispose of them. There is something special about dining at a table made from timber that once served as a bridge, spanning a stream. Come to think of it, I watch TV in an entertainment unit crafted from wood that previously housed horses in a stable.

One of nature’s gifts to us is this demonstration of the interdependence of all living things. Sun and rain, soil and water, oxygen and carbon dioxide provide all of us with the building blocks for our survival. Nothing can exist or thrive on its own and our entire planet is a vast web of living things, engaged in a spinning dance of relationships. Nature teaches us to be aware of these things, but only when we take the time to observe and delight in them.

 

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