A Gap In The Forest

If you have been following my musings and art work, you will realise that I live on the edge of a fairly large forest, where I do a lot of walking. “Hills” living is wonderful and peaceful, however just as a coin has two sides most of the positives could not exists without some negatives. 

One of the positives of living in the hills is that it is home to some of the most beautiful gum trees in Australia, red, grey, ash, blue, honey all the colours and shades of what is known as the Australian bush. These amazing trees are also home to many of the iconic and wonderful native animals that we all love and treasure worldwide. 

Now the drawback to these magnificent trees is how immensely tall, wide and heavy they are. Even though their roots run deep and long within the soil, if the conditions are right, a single tree falling in the wind and rain can wipe out three entire houses in one single blow. Walking amongst these massive giants I am in awe of the silent destructive power these towers have and how frightening this can be. So far I have been lucky enough, not to have been directly affected, but when a storm blows in, especially at night, I have found myself lying awake listening to the noise of the trees moving outside in the wind. In moments like this, I find myself mentally picturing every large gum tree on my property, and praying that with every sway and bend, these warriors stay fighting with all their strength to hold on to the ground they are cradled in. 

The noise of these storms can be overwhelming, but also magical. Sometimes as the wind rolls up the hillside, I close my eyes and it feels as if I am under the ocean, encased in the hull of a tall wooden ship, feeling each board creak and move agains the weight of the ocean as it is pushed around in the stormy current. Mother nature’s power is truly remarkable. If this sounds like a nightmare, perhaps hills living is not for you. However, after a couple of windy days and nights it is something you become accustom too. 

About 12 months ago I took a walk several days after one of these storm events. the weather had calmed down and I felt secure enough to poke my head out and inspect what kind of, or if any damage had happened within my little surrounding community. As I took one of my usual routes, I noticed a massive “dint” taken out of a natural embankment. The earth was churned up with saw dust and exposed roots littering and sticking out of the soil. Even though the tree had been taken away, you could still see the damage the fall had caused, as the carnage stretched across the road, including a wire fence and surrounding vegetation. Everything was all squashed and warped in such a manner that you could still picture how big the warrior had been whom had lost their battle to the wind. Even though there was no physical tree to be seen, the ghost of its presence was still there in the form of a huge gap in the forest. 

At this point in time, I was slowing coming to terms with and starting to heal from the destruction caused by a close friendship break up. The damage I felt from this event, felt not too dissimilar from the violence laid before me in all its raw and twisted emotion. Like the fence, my heart felt squashed and bruised and instead of love and memories, I had a big gapping hole where this beloved friend used to be. 

As I was thinking of this I stopped in my walk and all of a sudden it came to me. What had occurred even though horrible and painful, this was something that just happened, there was no blame, no fault, the friendship just ended. Even though the tree seemed like it should stand the test of time and had been growing tall and marvellous over many years, it simply just fell. You see friendships move and change just like the tree’s moving in the wind, but sometimes the storm is greater than the strength of its roots. 

Thinking of all this, it is not all bad. Many times now, I have walked passed the site where the giant had been uprooted. A new fence has been erected, all strong and taught with the posts straight and wide. The hills vines and undergrowth have filled in the gap the trunk had made. And where the root ball had been there is now a gravelled insert to the road, with a row of letter boxes standing firm to attention in their own individual personalities. But, sadly no new tree. The winds of time have healed the damage the fall had created, and even though I know a tree used to be where the letter boxes now stand, I no longer feel sad when I walk by, as it is surprisingly comforting to see the gap in the forest replaced with something different and new. 

A Gap In The Forest – Pen and pencil on paper

Hope everyone is having a wonderful start to May. Keep warm safe and dry my beautiful friends xoxoxo  

Published by allihoward123

Allison Howard main passion has always been story telling works predominantly with illustration and completed her MFA at Monash University, Melbourne 2012. Graduating with the Chancellors award for best Thesis. Allison Has worked and collaborated with many artists and exhibitions, in both Australia and New Zealand. To be kept up to date with Allison's latest activity and to view her current and archived works please visit Instagram @alli.howard123 and hit the follow button.

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