This is the end of stories and pictures from New Zealand. It’s green there; grasses and shrubs of course, but especially trees and trees and trees. Some have names; individual trees I mean, not species.
Homo sapiens is an organism unique in its use of language, and language begins with naming things. Names matter, and things that have them may deserve more attention than those without.
Four Sisters · They are kauri trees in the Waipoua Forest. Kauris are remarkable, moderately tall and immensely massive; Lauren’s brother Martin has lots around his place in Auckland, and they’re pleasant company. I couldn’t figure out how to get a picture of the Sisters at ground level that told the story of their bulk, but looking up somewhat suggests it.
Like many of New Zealand’s living tourist attractions, kauris are threatened by one thing and another. But I think the people who care will win that fight and preserve them.
Tāne Mahuta · I quote from Wikipedia:
Tāne Mahuta is a giant kauri tree (Agathis australis) in the Waipoua Forest of Northland Region, New Zealand. Its age is unknown but is estimated to be between 1,250 and 2,500 years. It is the largest kauri known to stand today. Its Māori name means “Lord of the Forest” (see Tāne), from the name of a god in the Māori pantheon.
Mere words cannot convey its hugeness. A picture can at least try; enlarge this and look at the little humans near the base.
It has its own parking lot, picnic ground, and public loo, all across the road from the path you walk down for a closer view. From there, you can see Tāne Mahuta raising huge bent old limbs above its peers.
If you get to New Zealand, a trip to the Waipoua forest is a really good idea.
Te Rerenga Wairua · I wrote here about a place called Cape Reinga; that piece includes verses on the subject but no pictures of the Cape itself. So here’s one of those.
If you enlarge the picture (or look real close) you’ll see a lone tree projecting from the outermost crag.
It has stories attached, but first the facts. It’s a pōhutukawa. It’s at least 800 years old. It’s never been observed to bloom. (Pōhutukawa blossoms have their own name: Kihiki.)
Let’s have as close a look as my 200mm afforded.
This tree is full of stories and is called Te Aroha (also the name of an NZ town). Te Rerenga Wairua is a larger name, whose story includes the rock the tree is on: It says the stones and the tree and then its roots are a staircase. The spirits of the recently-dead walk down them and reach Hawaiki.
Another spot the family had to drag me away from. I’d very much like to scramble closer some year.
Listen! · I think it’s important to remember that no tree cares about the name we give it. Its physicality not its label is what matters. Forget the name; touch its bark instead. See the light beneath it. Smell the air around it.
Most important, shut up and listen. This might not work for you, but whenever I’m amongst trees, if I listen carefully I feel rewarded and educated.
I keep telling my kids to listen to the trees but they just think Dad’s crazy.