Along a path strewn with brown fire-killed leaves; dried, drought-killed leaves, and scattered with charcoal and ash – I find this:
Opulent pink flowers, freshly tumbled, two hundred or more. While above me springs the parent tree. Leafless, its bare slender branches adorned with pink blooms. Clustered fecundity, gaiety in this dry burnt landscape.
Queensland lacebark tree, butterflies tremble before your pink flowers. Lewin’s honeyeater dips his whole head in, embraced by generous furry petals, spread wide in welcome.
The lacebark tree (Brachychiton discolor) is cousin to the flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolius) : survivors of both are still flowering wildly in these dry, fire-blasted mountain forests. And supping the flowers of both is the extravagant Richmond Birdwing Butterfly. Usually rare (and still listed as vulnerable to extinction in Queensland), it has been unusually abundant in Beechmont this spring. Perhaps the heat and dryness agree with it?
A yellow-tailed black-cockatoo wails sadly from afar. But nearby is a flash of bright yellow as a robin surveys the party of pink lacebark flowers, the wedding spree, the Christmas cheer, seemingly cast with joy and abandon.
Telling us that life springs anew, it always does. In ways unexpected.
We just need to go out and look.