Some of you may have read about the taniwha that lives at the end of my street. The old river dragon. Its lair lies beneath a coven of lovely dark, crook-backed trees that catch the smoke of its dreams and weave them into night mist, peace shadow, magic. They are wise trees, deep-hearted trees, and every time I walk down the street towards home I look at them and feel connected with nature and my own wild spirit.
Their magic and their companionship has sustained me these past three years. I came to this house from another in a valley where a great forest had been ripped away for the sake of houses. The land there ached. The grass seemed to bleed pain. Still, our own house was nestled within hedges and blossoming trees, and so I had comfort. I was scared, when I moved here, that to live with trees only in my view, not my property, would be difficult. And it has been. But each of those trees enriching my horizon has become a friend to me. They have danced in so many storms with me.
Almost all are dead now.
The black-haired witch tree which I saw from my living room window. She would gather threads of salty, incoherent sea stories and turn them into something poetic for me. She and I, we were kindred spirits. Then one day I sat to my writing and, looking up to say good morning to her, saw only emptiness. And someone's chimney. Now the sea tales slip away untold.
The great dark star pine. I wrote on this weblog about its death. About how I lay my hands on the earth to send love when I knew it would be cut down, and how when the destruction company had its branches piled in the neighbour's yard, I ran over to take one. That branch stands in a corner of my living room. The ghost of the tree - such an old, strong tree, its shape-memory can not help but linger - makes the emptiness where it was seem so much more empty.
The west song tree. I was in shock when I saw that come down. It had ... no, I can't express what it meant to me. Some part of my heart still weeps for its loss. I lay flowers where it stood, and the tree-cutting people, sweeping up its sawdust as I sighed and looked up into its memory, kindly sympathised. The tree had been strong and healthy. People wanted it removed because they didn't like its leaves falling on their driveways. Now the sky outside my bedroom window is blank. The wind does not sing any more.
And today, today ...
Today we arrived home to find that the taniwha's dream trees were gone. All of them. The old woman trees, the graceful high dancing tree. The weavers of wild dark magic. The sky is raw with their loss. I can not imagine how the taniwha feels.
The rain falls blandly. There is only one tree left to sway and sing with me in this little storm. I am scared to look out of my window because at any moment it might be taken away too.