Lachlan Marnoch, 2017
The rain was falling, but it wasn’t a sad rain. It was a cleansing rain. Birds flitted through the air, singing and ruffling their feathers at the welcome bath. Old trees greeted it with open branches: eucalypts, bark burnt to iron-black by bushfire, already sporting new growth. Fresh bright leaves sprouted into the clean air, from branches cleared for them by the fire. The ground below was already layered with crisp undergrowth, clamouring to fill the emptied spaces between. And below even that were the shoots of baby gums, germinated by flame.
Harsh bluffs plummeted to the v-shape of the valley floor; but the trees spilled over their flat tops, colonised them, blunted the sternness of their verticality. The most tenacious emerged from stark crags, where decades ago their seeds had been deposited by forces beyond their control. Nonetheless they had taken root and made do, bone-white trunks worming their way impossibly from hostile homes.
Between the clouds, the sun shone through, brightening the bare oranges and greys and lichen-blacks of the cliff-faces. This too the trees greeted.
The bright green of the recovering plants blended distantly to the steely grey-green of old growth. The valley ran away between the table-tops of the cliffs, snaking away into the blue haze of distant mountains. Perhaps some ancient glacier had forced its way through here a million years ago, carving through the softer stone and grinding away to the sea. But in the raw moraine left by its passing, long after the ice had melted, up had sprung this beautiful bushforest, untroubled by the frigid past.