The tree had stood in that same spot for countless years. Tall arms covered in leaves reached for the blue sky as they sought the warm sunlight. Around the base of the tree, the ground had cracked and lifted as the tree grew and grew. When the wind howled, the tree creaked and groaned, swaying to the strong winds. Occasionally a branch was torn loose from the tree and then the branch toppled from on high to the ground where it soon became soil as the tree watched stoically on. Yet, the loss of a branch was no great matter for the tree, as there were still more branches seeking the sunlight and the tree had time
My, the things that tree had seen in its great long life span. The tree was surrounded by human –made trees which competed with the tree for light. The strong winds which rose from time, and the tree had known they always would, made the human-made trees creak and groan too. Over the years the winds occasionally blew strong enough that the some of the nearby human-made trees crashed to the ground with a loud roar whilst the soil below the tree furiously shook and heaved. But the tree still remained unharmed and lived on.
It just so happened that on that tree lived a huntsman spider. The huntsman spider was very proud of her eight long legs. And she was a fast spider. The spider ran up and down the huge old tree and around and around the trunk hunting for insects. Fortunately for the spider, there were plenty of foolish insects flying and walking around for her to snack upon. That spider knew every hiding spot on that tree too and over the short winter she would bury herself between the bark and the trunk of the tree and wait out the cooler and damper weather. That cooler weather made the huntsman spider sluggish. The tradition of the spiders handed down over countless generations of arachnids was that the winter seasons were shorter than they used to be, but who knew what the truth actually was?
Over the years as the cracks in the ground around the tree had grown larger and other different plants had begun growing around the tree. And in one of those plants a tree frog was waiting in the deep shade of the vegetation for the cooler weather to arrive. When the cooler weather arrived, the tree frog could leave the deep and cool shade of the vegetation and climb the tree trunk looking for tasty morsels. Up into the tree, higher and higher that frog climbed and hopped. The leaves captured moisture during the nights and the tree frog enjoyed both the moisture whilst eating the many insects drawn to that water.
One day, the tree frog spied a leg of the huntsman spider carelessly sticking out from under its hiding place between the bark and the tree trunk. The spider of course was hiding from the cold and damp weather of the few short cool months. The tree frog turned a thoughtful gaze upon that protruding leg whilst thoughts of dinner began forming in its amphibian brain. A huntsman spider is no easy foe for a tree frog and the frog knew it had a challenge before it. Stealth and surprise was the order of that day and the tree frog bounced upon the huntsman spiders leg. Before the spider knew what was going on (in its sluggish state), the tree frog was enjoying a very tasty meal.
The winds had torn branches from that old tree and deep hollows formed in the trunk. In one of those hollows a marsupial bat lived with its family. When the sun was low in the sky and the colours in the sky burned all purples and reds, the little bat flew forth from the comfy tree hollow in search of insects. Back and forth the bat flew in all sorts of apparently random directions. No flying insect was safe during those dying hours of the sun. From a height near to the top of the tall tree, the little bat eventually spotted the small tree frog clinging to the side of the trunk. Down out of the sky the bat dropped and before the tree frog knew what had happened, the bat had whisked the frog off to its hollow to feed its young. The night was now complete for the bat.
All these things the possum could see from even higher up in the canopy of that old tree. The possum knew that high up in the canopy was where the freshest and greenest leaves grew. Down on the ground below the tree, the possum could see that occasionally foxes, dogs and cats roamed around, and it was dangerous. This was not a problem for the possum as he could climb from one tree to another without having to drop to the ground, because the branches of different trees touched. The elder possums claimed that a story is told that once long ago, the trees were all separated one from the other. However, now as any clear sighted possum could see, the trees clearly all touched. Of course there was the mystery of the human-made trees which grew no leaves, but that was a problem for other possums to worry about, because for now there are plenty of fresh green leaves to eat. The possums cavorted through the leaves and there were games, fights, love and intrigue.
There was also danger high up in the trees for the possums. Every now and then a powerful owl would sweep through the trees looking for possums. And after the owls possum feast, they would move on. The powerful owls loudly hooted their presence and scared the lesser possums into revealing themselves in their fear. Owls enjoy a tasty possum.
The owls are the lords and ladies of the night time air and they mostly fly silently in their ones and twos over the mingled forest of trees and the now dark still standing human-made trees. The owls see all during the night time and no other bird or animal is their equal. These particular owls flew over huge areas and in their flight, they soon left the forest of the trees which had mixed in with the dark human-made trees. Once the human-made trees had disappeared, intermingled fields and actual forest sweep by beneath the owls.
Eventually those owls stopped for the day in another tall tree that they knew well. The tree has served those owls well over the years and the owls have also served that tree well. Around the tree is a wide stretch of grass land and in the middle distance are more trees. This area is perfect possum hunting grounds and so the owls settled into their comfortable tree for the day whilst the hated sun rose in the east.
A small mob of kangaroos lazily grazes the grass lands below the tree. Some of the kangaroos keep a close watch on the surrounding land. Other kangaroos take the time to enjoy the rising sun and scratch a monumental itch. Over the day the kangaroos move along the grass lands. Towards the late afternoon the kangaroos across a short stretch of human-made black grass where small chunks of vegetation bravely poke out of the cracks. The kangaroos shun this human-made black grass and bounce quickly over, past and away from it. The human-made grass is pervaded with fear and kangaroo legend has it that once fast moving humans raced backwards and forwards along this human-made black grass. Of course in these enlightened marsupial times, all right thinking kangaroos know that nothing moves as fast as a mob of kangaroos at full speed.
The hot day wore slowly on. Grass was grazed and inscrutable altercations occurred in the kangaroo mob, but as night set in the kangaroo mob retired to grass lands closer to the forest. The look-out kangaroo alerted the mob to the presence of a wallaby lurking in amongst the trees in the forest. The kangaroos had nothing to fear from their smaller lone forest dwelling cousin.
The wallaby on the other hand had everything to fear from a large mob of kangaroos and so the wallaby wisely kept to the quiet of the trees and forest. As the wallaby went off in search of grass, saplings and herbs to eat, it thought to itself that it looked like it was going to be a warm and still night. Off the wallaby bounced, in a direction leading away from the mob of kangaroos and deeper into the forest. The wallaby knew of many clearings in that forest where good food could be had. It also knew that the human-made black grass ran through the forests and near to the clearings. The human-made black grass provided for fast movement through the forest and the lack of trees on that black grass caused more light to enter the forest floor and so the grass and herbs are particularly tasty there.
Whilst the wallaby was enjoying some choice plants, a wombat with her young wombat trailing in tow waddled past and then stopped.
“Evening Mrs Wombat” said the wallaby.
“Evening Mr Wallaby” replied the older wombat.
Then the older wombat quipped: “Junior’s after a bit of carrot, so we’re off to visit the farm of the magic toilet”.
“Well, it’s not far from here. I won’t be joining you tonight, so good luck to you both” replied the wallaby.
The older wombat with her young wombat following dutifully behind waddled off along the human-made black grass in search of carrots.
Wombats have poor eyesight, but an incredible sense of smell and before too long the two wombats came upon a small building smelling strongly of human. This was the destination of the magic toilet, and the paddock to the side of the small building was every wombats dream destination, a field full of diverse vegetables all growing in rich soil
The older wombat knew by long practice, how to get into, and then out of again, the field of diverse vegetables. So into the field went both of the wombats, and they enjoyed a few choice carrots and their fill of greens. It had been a tidy night’s work for the wombats and before too long, they were safely off and way down the human-made black grass and back to their burrow before the day broke.
The next day a human walked down that cracked road in the direction of the farm. The human had been walking for many days now heading in the direction of the ruined city
To be continued...