I must confess, I'm more a 'sound of' nature lover than an actual 'get out amongst it' one. An indoorsy, tucked up with a good book and a glass of wine, type if you will. By all means I have brought nature inside my home by painting a feature wall green, and admiring the rustling leaves from behind the pane of my bedroom window.
Here in Queensland the flora and fauna has a propensity to become aggressive. Ants colonise with militant force, possums hiss, screech and thump on rooftops. Lorikeets vocalise their wakening at four am in the summer months. Cut your garden shrubs into submission in spring, and twelve months later they have retaliated more wildly than before. Pay attention in the back yard so you don't stick your face into the web of a golden orb spider or alarm a legless lizard in the undergrowth. You get the (Amazonian) picture.
When we moved into our current place five years ago I was delighted to see a lush, delicately leafed leopard tree growing in our new front garden. It provided gentle shade and privacy to our upstairs bedrooms and I immediately adored it. But in the ensuring years the relationship has turned toxic.
The branches have grown at a rate of more than a metre upward each year and the tree has now completely doubled in size. The dainty little leaves are released from their twigs twice a year, and this week has seen a dumping of seedpods all over our driveway and lawn. When they land - plunk! - on the car parked below, it is like a gunshot sounding off. The birds who nestle in the branches poop all over the windshield. The other day I was half way down the road when I turned on the windscreen squirter to rid the glass of a particularly generous dollop, only to find the well was dry and the wipers acted as a giant paintbrush to coat my view with a vile poo paste. And before you ask, 'why don't you just park in the garage? Well the garage door handle is stuffed, and is on the ever growing 'to do' list to fix. Money doesn’t grow on trees, but whatever…
I’m sure it knows a plot has taken root. The number of arborists advertising their services by way of flyer drop in our letterbox has increased noticeably the past few months. The gutters are blocked and there is a suspicious fine crack in the brickwork up the front wall of the house. Yesterday Mr Leopard aimed a seedpod and hit me on the shoulder with force as I got out of the car.
I know, I know, trees don't think that way. But I am torn by the reality that I am about to commit tree murder. Its time has come. I can't take it anymore. The towering stud, a charming, healthy specimen has, through no fault of its own, committed the sin of growing in the wrong place at the wrong time. The arborist has been booked. The date of death is sometime this coming week.
I've already created a memorial to commemorate its passing, gathering seedpods and glue gunning them onto a canvas. The memory of what was will live on as a tasteful nod to nature, inside and on the wall. In time I hope this work will fill me with a nostalgia for the good times; the shade, the delightful rustling of the wind among its branches and its former beauty. Not the thunking, squawking, lawn-mowing hazard it morphed into. Or maybe it won’t and I’ll be haunted each time I wander past, the eyelike seed pods accusing me for such a darstardly deed. I sincerely hope it’s the former.
If you’ve ever been faced with a garden variety dilemma, please let me know in the comments below!