‘I think that I shall never see A poem as lovely as a tree’
Joyce Kilmer’s words, simple as they may be, may not be shared by all. If we see the world only once, through childhood, then something dear is lost in adolescence and adulthood: a curiosity, a fascination in something as banal as the greenness of a leaf. Yet I put it to you to not find the eucalyptus deglupta – the rainbow eucalyptus – quite extraordinary.
Commonly found in Melanesia and the Philippines the rainbow eucalyptus sheds the outer layers of it’s bark at intermittent times throughout the year, leaving different parts exposed. The different colours represent the stage each strip is at (newest is green, oldest is maroon). To the tree, this is nothing beyond an inherent natural process for survival and prosperity. It just happens to be strikingly gorgeous, with a colour palette so effervescent the expressionists would go green in envy. You could, perhaps like Kilmer or Terrence Malick would, view such a natural wonder as evidence supporting theism or deism. Or, like Sagan, see it merely as the start of our genealogical heritage. They are one of few organisms that serve as living, constantly changing portraits and longstanding artefacts of our much disregarded distant cousin, the tree.
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