This is possibly the tallest tree in Mt. Field National Park in Tasmania. Swamp gums are actually the tallest hardwoods in the world. (If you immediately think of the California redwoods — yes, those are taller, and they are softwoods.) Here’s a bit from the placard near this tree:
“As they grow, these eucalypts drop their lower branches. Sometimes falling limbs tear bark from the trunk. Can you see scars where branches have fallen from this tree?”
They drop their lower branches. As the tree grows, the branches reach out where they’re supposed to reach out to keep the tree healthy. It doesn’t forget the branches that were there first, and often carries those marks with it in the form of scars, but the focus is on the present.
Continuing in the vein of anthropomorphism that happens to be resonating with me at the moment… This swamp gum isn’t trying to be all things to all people. It isn’t trying to just add and add and add without letting something go. The past is a very rich part of it, and it’s still reaching higher.
Boy, do I ever need to live like a swamp gum.