Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Beautiful and Terrible

Beautiful and terrible, the rainforest

has no sympathy for human weaknesses,

human needs.

‘Here you are,’ it says. ‘Deal with it.’

And covers your feet in tiny itchy red lumps.

‘Listen,’ it says, ‘listen to the cooing

of the wompoo pigeon, the screech

of the catbird, the whispery whistle

of cassowary chicks stalking their way

across millennia of preserved prehistory.

Stop whining about the damp, the heat, the cold, the insects,

the cost, the rain, and your rotting clothes.’

The rainforest says, ‘Open your eyes and look,

look again, again and again and

every time you’ll see more, see new,

see different, there’s no end to what

can be learned here if you pay attention.’

The photographs are of a Strangler Fig Tree near the start of the Marrdja Boardwalk near Oliver Creek, Cape Tribulation. Strangler Figs start as an epiphyte, draping down and around a tree and eventually choking the host to death and becoming a free standing tree in its own right. They can grow incredibly huge and intricate. This one probably was growing on a palm which bend under the weight and died pretty young, leaving this amazing lattice arch.

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