Monday, August 08, 2016
Last Tuesday, the sun was shining (shocking, I know), so I went outside and snapped the photo above. It’s of a tree that blooms like that in late winter. I have no idea what it is, though a neighbour said it was some sort of wild cherry. I do know that it was “planted” by the birds, and at the moment we have two others on our property.
Most of the year, these trees are pretty ugly: Darkish green leaves, tall trunks, mostly straight, so no particular interest to the tree. They lose all their leaves in autumn, and remains bare sticks until the flowers appear, an explosion of colour that almost makes it possible to forget how forgettable the tree is the rest of the year.
But what makes the tree even better—the best of all, in fact—is that they attract tui (rosthemadera novaeseelandiae) to to our garden. The birds are well-known for their love of the colour red, in all its shades, so much so that I’ve seen advice in newspapers to put out some food for them in a red bowl at the height of winter to encourage the birds into your yard. I’ve never done that, and because of these trees, I don’t need to.
As they feed, the tui squawk and squeak and chirp and whistle and click, filling the whole area with their song (more about that another day, but the link above has sound files). I think it’s one of the most magical sounds in New Zealand. So, even though the weather has been awful for weeks, and we’re still coming to terms with a very sick cat, this was a little spot of brightness, and it certainly lifted my mood.
Sometimes, it’s pretty easy to find something positive at a time that otherwise may not be. This was one of those times.