Wednesday 28 December 2016

Dear 2016

do you suppose you could possibly stop it? Yes, I know there are only a few days left but you have had 361 days of "fun". It has been, as HM Queen Elizabeth once elegantly put it, an "annus horribilus" for the rest of us.
Today is hot and humid again. It's still raining on and off and it is still blowing a gale out there. The CFS time line is a mass of red incident reports - over two pages already of "tree down" messages. It's lousy, rotten weather to be out there endeavouring to clear trees from roads so that people can get through safely. I can be almost one hundred and one percent certain that the vast majority, if not all, of those trees will be gum trees. This is the worst sort of weather for them. They don't have the deep roots of some trees. They may be "native" trees but they should never be planted in urban areas.
Yes, someone left me an email to say that she won't be picking something up today because their driveway is currently blocked by the neighbour's gum tree having blown over. The SES will get to it eventually but it isn't blocking a road. It hasn't damaged the house and they can get in and out on foot so it will have to wait. She is just thankful nobody was hurt and that their houses are intact. Still, it happened in the middle of the night and they have been awake since then.  She is hoping it will make her son rethink his plan to plant lemon-scented gums along the edge of his property.
Many years ago my maternal uncle and his wife lived on a small property just out of the city. They "developed" it by planting several thousand gum trees. At the time they thought they were doing the right thing. They left the property forty something years ago and it has since been burnt out twice. The gums have sometimes "exploded" as the fire passed through. Now my aunt tells me they would rethink the whole plan and plant something different. There might be some gums in the mix but they would look at other trees as well.
Don't get me wrong. Big gums can be very beautiful in their own way but they need space and distance. The one that has fallen on to the driveway of my friend's home was too big for two or even three of us together to put our arms around the trunk. 
I wonder if it grew tired. It was old, very old.

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