Pondering this new year . . this Angophora answers by Colleen Keating


i visit my special tree
a regular confidante
and ponder
what this new year may bring

rooted in place
sturdy stronger calmer
than i remember

it gazes upwards
out over the valley
as if it could see
far beyond our horizon

one thing changed
last visit its bark was pink
sleek inviting my hand
to run across its dimply skin





today its bark is splitting
letting go
peeling in strips and curls
burnished as an old rusty drum
exposing chartreuse rawness

i nod and thank
tree wisdom
for its perfect message


The magic colours of the trunk .



The Angophora Tree

Totems are a natural object or creature that is believed to have spiritual significance and can be adopted by particular groups as an emblem or symbol. This special tree like others before me who declared it the hugging tree is my special tree

The angophora tree is a special tree to the Darug people who are the Traditional Custodians of the area. The angophora is an ascension tree, a place where the spirits  go up and down from this earthly plane.

In pre-colonial days at the time of pregnancy, a woman would sit at the base of the tree and wait for the spirit of her child to enter her belly into her unborn child. At the other end of the life cycle, when someone passes, the body is wrapped in bark and placed in the large branches up the tree, to allow the spirit of the person to return to the heavens.

On a recent visit  I felt the spirit is still there.   There is a parallel world here in this Loreto forest .

I am writing my next poem on that at present.


(Angophora Costata   Sydney Red Gum or Smooth Bark Apple Gum)