A Dying Tree, A Night of Music.

A spot to sit and watch the rain.

Well, hello there.

There have been a few changes here, as I’ve had a bit of a reno.* I’ve decided to stay put with WP – just for now. I’m in rather a state of limbo with it all. But other options were proving to be far too time-consuming, and involved much hair-pulling, especially when it came to my domain name. And I have so many other things on right now. So. Enough.

Anyway. It’s been an incredibly busy, as well as an unsettling week. But now there is calm. I treated myself to a long bath, followed by sundry aromatic unguents, and now contentedly dazed, I sit here with my licorice root tea, listening to the rain on the roof, with a pile of books at my elbow. Piggy in the mud, essentially.

On Tuesday, I had to play Death’s midwife to a dying rhododendron, which left me a bit teary. It’s a hard task having to take a tree apart. To end its suffering. I did not do it lightly, and for the better part of a year I’ve tried to nurse that rhodo back to health. But the stresses it’s faced with dry heat and no rain, then humidity, alternating with monsoon-like rain after weeks of dry weather, have been too much for the grand old dame. However much careful watering, feeding and coaxing, it was telling me that it was dying. Most likely of a fungal disease.

In the end I had to take my tree saw, and cut it to the ground. It was hard, hard work, (I don’t own a chainsaw, which is possibly a blessing upon all of humankind), for despite the porous branches, it was an old and well-established tree. My arms were shaking by the end of it – as much with the trauma of it all as with the effort. If that sounds odd, or melodramatic, then all I can say is, if you love trees, and spend time with them, you know the spirit and intelligence that dwells within. It’s a terrible thing when a tree dies. And I felt grief, and not a little guilt.

The optimist in me is hoping that it may have the chance to regenerate, but I just don’t know. The ground around which the tree lived is now achingly bare and bleak. I’ve possibly over-compensated by planting an elderberry tree there, (because I love them, and its rampant impulse will be contained by brick paving on one side, and Frankenstein’s potting shed on t’other); along with a small hedge of lavender cuttings, a virginia creeper, some pineapple sage, wormwood, and hydrangeas. See what I mean by over-compensating?

And all I can do is trust that Spring will come. Gardening is possibly one of the greatest trust-building exercises that exists.

here’s a picture of something that isn’t dead in my garden. A polyanthus, in fact.

And that same night we headed to Hamer Hall in the city, to watch the Moon-girl perform on her saxophone with the rest of her band members. I don’t usually write here of my out-and-about’s, beyond my cottage. But this was an epic evening, and the Moon was completely in her element, loving every minute of the day, from the sound-checks, to knocking around ACMI with her friends, (one of her favourite childhood haunts); and even the bad pizza she ate at a food court.

I had an odd moment when we were heading into the performance. We (the Bloke and myself) were running slightly close to late because finding a sodding park in this city is now becoming a post-industrial nightmare. As we headed into the bowels of Hamer Hall, along with all the other eleventy billion people who had come to see their children play music, we headed past a bar. The Bloke said to me, “after all that parking malarky, I’m going to take a beer in with me”. So I said, distractedly, trying to find out door, “sure, but make it quick”. However, due to the teeming hordes, he didn’t hear me at all, and asked “what did you say?”
“I said, make it quick!”, rather loudly, and therefore possibly sharpish too, which I never intended.

The bar-tender gave me the most admonishing and filthy look possible. As though I was the cruelest, most evil shrew that walked the earth, trying to deny her man a beer. Mon. Effing. Dieu.
And then he proceeded to ignore me completely when we were being served. And despite myself, and the pettiness of his behaviour, I shrank inside at that oh-so-familiar sense of being completely misunderstood and dismissed. And old wounds itched.

But you know, as wonderful a place as the Arts Centre is, and as rude and arrogant (ironically) as that bartender was to me, he must deal with some of the most obnoxious, and entitled behaviour. Because sadly, there are an awful lot of Airs, not just arias; and it’s all very earnest at times, with people Going to See Art. I think this is a bit of an Australian thing, (it’s certainly not my experience of Europe where art is just running through the fabric of the everyday, rather than something the (largely) privileged go to pretentiously consume); because there still exists a great big intellectual chip on the cultural shoulder.

We often think things have changed, and in some ways of course they have; but in other ways, we’ve become even more anti-intellectual than ever. And art is supposed to be created and exist in a vacuum – if the gutting of Arts funding, and slashing of arts journalism and media is anything to go by.

Anyway, as for that bartender, I wonder whether he would have taken it upon himself to “teach” me how to behave if I’d been male. Because…I hope I don’t have to explain.

But I was wobbly from my tree-murdering, from the crush of crowds and the anxiety this produces in me, (give me dizzying heights any day over crowds); and from local tragedies that have unfolded here, very close to home, over the past week. Funny how one trivial incident can make you feel low, even when you know it’s not really even about that.

Yet that wasn’t the prevailing mood of the evening by any means. It was so lovely to see our girl doing what she loves doing so much with good friends, and so many children playing music with such joy and focus. It was equally lovely to return home to this place of kindness, where the forest is an embrace, and the rain and a lonely owl are night music.

And the next few weeks are looking packed, with birthdays, work, gigs, possibly seeing Dita Von Teese’s forthcoming show at the forum, as well as attend book gatherings. Book. Gatherings

Guess which I’m most excited about?

Cheerio for now, luvs. xx


*That’s Australian for “renovation”.

9 thoughts on “A Dying Tree, A Night of Music.

  1. I’m currently wrangling a self hosted wordpress site, without all the ease of choice and widgets and whatnot. So stop feeling sorry for yourself, LOL.

    This was an excellent example of how we can rarely meet one another just in the moment, completely open. Because something has gone before, that day or older baggage, and it’s floating around, controlling our voices, faces, opinions, all of which could be different in the morning. Everybody would have to be incredibly accepting, brave enough to ask for clarification, and well, they just aren’t, are they. 😉 Because we have a hard enough job containing all of ourselves, so all the others are definitely last in line.


    1. heheh…Pia – you’re a brave soul indeed to self-host a wordpress site. My mind boggles at the prospect!

      “This was an excellent example of how we can rarely meet one another just in the moment, completely open…”. I agree. I let it go pretty quickly though. I wasn’t going to chide the young bartender, although I have stood up to poor service/treatment (only twice in my life), but when I feel it necessary, I will.
      I shrug at that event now, and even find it amusing. It came in a week where there was a local tragedy, and I didn’t realise I was coming down with a virus, (which I have now), so I become much more sensitive than usual.

      Good luck with the wordpress tweaking! xx


      1. Yes, even a cold can send an encounter in the completely wrong direction. Who knows, the bartender might have been just dumped by his girlfriend or chided by his mum, his last 5 customers complete a-holes etc. And we never know these things about each other.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I noticed the difference in your blog look, right away. But then, I am wired to notice blog looks, I guess! ,-) Which is a blessing and a curse. I love to tell people that I noticed their “new blog look.” (Because I love to have people tell me, the same—-blush)

    And of course, yours is always a lovely version of “The Black Cat.”

    But some. Oh some. They put up something very boring, and leave it up for ages! Or they put up something, lovely to them, I’m sure, but which grates on my particular nerves. >,-) And leave it there, for-ev-er! Those, I would prefer to not notice, every single time I open their blog!

    Do you know how delightful it is, to be able to say the above, here???!!!??? Do you? Do you? >,-)))) Because it is. I know I’m not going to ruffle any feather, here. Nor are you going to think me petty and small. You are just going to pat me on the head and say; “I understand Tessa, I understand Dear…” 🙂

    Sorry that your tree was finally beyond loving resuscitation. You did what you could, and it was a blessing, to finally put it out of its misery. But….. I understand how it was not done easily. Every time I hear of a fallen tree, I remember when a new owner took down the very old Oak Tree, next door. Now that, scared both my husband and I!!!!!!!!!! It was strong, and beautiful, and even well shaped. It was old and majestic, and one of 3 very old trees in our city. And she had it cut down, to build a driveway!!!!! (And she never had a lick of luck with anything on that lot, after. And had to eventually sell it, to another developer!!!!!) Heh-heh-heh-

    Oh my!!!! I may not have the writing Muse, on my own blog. But She jumps up and down on my shoulder, here! And keeps insisting that I write more and more and more. lol. So seeee? It’s not my fault for this long and rambling comment. It’s Hers!!!!

    And of course, so wonderful that Moon has a group and a place to really enjoy her music!!!! So, so, so, so wonderful!!! I’m so happy for her.

    I just told my Muse, to fly around the yard. So I will quickly stop! 🙂

    Hugs, Tessa


    1. Thankyou for your lovely words re my site, Tessa. Like I’ve said before, I’m not much of a designer. Merlin always seems to be part of the ambience these days, (although he’s in my Bad Books today, I won’t say why).

      I cannot believe, (well, actually, I can) your story of the neighbour felling the oak tree! I imagine they weren’t exactly popular after that.

      And you’re always welcome to write as much you like here. It’s lovely to see you. xx


  3. i’ve surrendered myself to WP for the duration…like you, any alternatives require far too much Fiddling and Faffing and i’m simply not that dedicated. 🙂

    i smile, because my girl is also in love with the saxophone.

    also – rude people. i try hard to be compassionate, but am easily brought low by other people leaking psychological toxins [manifesting in the form of rudeness, judgement, hostility] in my general vicinity. as The Man says — the noblest task is to practice good psychological hygiene — i’m paraphrasing….but anyway, i try to practice that myself and so am hyper-sensitive to other people’s crap. [OPC] or maybe i’m just hyper-sensitive. or lack patience for OPC.

    i feel you on the rhodo. there’s a deep grieving that goes with the dying of a tree…felt even more keenly when one is called upon for an act of euthanasia. Still, i’d be optimistic that the good, hard pruning and with follow-up good juju…and whatever edge-witchery seems appropriate….it may well rally. In between our viewing of this patch and our moving-in…some misanthrope went mad with the Round-Up all around the perimeter of the house….killing pretty much everything including – almost – a lilac and a viburnum. I cut them both right back down to the ground and whispered encouragement. both are thriving now…although the lilac hasn’t bloomed since….so, there’s always hope!

    haven’t i just rambled on?

    much love, dearest you…xoxoxo


    1. “i’ve surrendered myself to WP for the duration…like you, any alternatives require far too much Fiddling and Faffing and i’m simply not that dedicated”. Well said. Couldn’t agree more. Although I’d like an upgrade to get rid of the sodding ads on mine. Truly cringeworthy.

      Good psychological hygiene – yes, I like that very much. I’ve worked hard for a long time at not taking on OPC, (I’m historically brilliant at doing so). But now and again, I slip up. I realise now I was coming down with a virus, and combined with other stuff, it tends to make me hyper-sensitive.

      I knew you’d understand my rhodo woes, Mel. And that what is necessary is the witchery, (as you suggest), and a good deal of patience. Considering how close we’re getting here to the Winter Solstice, it’s the time for nature to sleep, and hopefully, regenerate.

      re the roundup: grrrrarghhh! But I can imagine now, with you walking the land caring for it, and listening to the spirits there, that it is now a place of beauty and healing that I see so clearly in your words and images.

      Wouldn’t it be fab if our girls could jam together? Lots of love xx


  4. i feel you about the tree removal. i LOATHE having to take out trees or shrubs, or anything really. i figure they want to live too. but sometimes they just aren’t in the right place to prosper or grow to maturity (or for one’s roof to remain intact), and sometimes they just don’t thrive for whatever reason. i’ve mourned every tree felled by storms and sulked for decades over the spaces where they used to be.

    that bartender was a git. if i had seen him give you a walleye, i would have hexed him. just because. and for every woman who’s ever had to watch her man wasting time with a pint at the most inopportune moments. hopefully the music washed it from your mind.


    1. “i figure they want to live too. but sometimes they just aren’t in the right place…”. Yup. Absolutely. I keep reminding myself that the poor rhodo I despatched was in entirely the wrong spot, and faced some ridiculous odds. But yes, I too shall be sulking for some time to come over the void it has left.

      Heheh…I should think a hex from you would be moste impressive, m’dear. You cheer me. But yes, the music did wash away much of the bad mojo. And now I just feel sorry for the poor guy. He would get a lot of rude customers in that job. xx


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