The fecundity of Beatles’ lyrical and musical imagination gave us “Norwegian Wood”, I give you the fecundity of Tropical Woods, defying imagination.Quite like a Strangler Fig they gently wrap you in their green embrace and never let you go. We fell under the spell of Tropical Woods like never before. We walked through them in the rain, hiked to their waterfalls, crossed over swollen rivers and suspended bridges, climbed canopy walkways and forrest towers to rest our weary city eyes in the endless sea of leaves. We spent hours strolling through botanical gardens, trying to remember all the wondrous sounding names: Hoop pine, Monkey Puzzle, Ironwood, Umbrella Tree, Swamp Gum.
We heard the fascinating story of Wollemia pine, an accent tree species from the time of dinosaurs, dating back 200 million year, known only from the fossil remains, until recently, when a lone hiker discovered a small grove deep in the woods.
While we marveled at the vast uninhabited swaths of thickly forested land we thought about the issue of the overcrowding of our planet. It seemed to us that there was plenty of space for all humanity, if only we learned to treasure the earth’s resources and use them wisely, not indiscriminately log and burn. There is much sparsely populated, empty land in the world, that could hold people and produce good food.
In our wandering we unintentionally covered nearly all the major parts of Australian virgin tropical woods with Queensland’s Daintree Rainforest, Tasmania’s cool temperate wilderness, New South Wells Gondwanan prehistoric fauna, Blue Mountains in Sydney’s back yard and finally monsoon rainforest in Kakadu National Park on the Far North.
Everywhere the rain made its presence known; soft and misty or in a quick burst of thunderstorms or in a real torrential downpour. After all, what would the hot rainforest be without the cooling rain?
We marveled at the life force of trees shooting up two hundred feet and more into the air, to bring their faces to the oh, so vital caresses of the sun.
We stood between the enormous buttress roots that not only provide extra stability for the towering giants, but also keep them above the waterlogged ground.
We laughed at the acrobatics of agile vines looping and braiding their way up, competing with the big boys.
Closer to the ground the fungi of different shapes and colors clinged to decaying trees.
Above our heads unknown birds flitted about and joyfully sang unfamiliar melodies.
If you stood still for awhile, you could notice other small animals making their home in the woods.
We were hoping to meet up with a famed but elusive cassowary but no such luck. 😦
But it was the poetry of the quiet, fleeting impressions that touched our hearts most deeply.
The orange and red berries suspended between the ferns and roots, dangling like necklaces of tiny sparkling jewels,
the thick softness of lush yellow-green mosses, the textures and abstract patterns of bark inviting your touch, the lacy pattern of decaying leaves…There had been others, more eloquent than us, called to express their awe about those same woods, captivating and inspiring us with their primal forces of the never ending cycles of life and death.