My partner and I were driving on Anzac Parade in Sydney the other day, when we noticed the 100+ year old trees marked with a ring that signalled death. I’m not an obsessed tree hugger (sometimes only). But it was hard to ignore the heavy feeling that overcame us. I couldn’t help but feel sad. My partner couldn’t help but cry.
It was no different to my father’s final days in the hospice. Only these were trees who knew it was only a matter of time. So one by one, they are lined up for lopping. Their passing will make way for a light rail transport from the city to the suburbs.
The preservationists rage at the government’s decision to remove them. The progressionists rage at the hippies who tie themselves to the trees to protect them from being lopped. Lots of fuss. No different to a reading of the will gathering for a deceased millionaire … I imagine.
As artists (my partner is a singer … I am a writer), we have a strong sense of responsibility to do justice to their memory with our crafts. Because between the arguing parties is a memory of the trees whose roots and 100+year presence will always be with the future tracks. That memory deserves to be preserved. Their voice deserves to be heard.
Creatures fly another home.
Hurried walkers, other shade.
Death celebrates the coming,
Our shadows never fade.