BY: Andy Dill, Bushwise student 2020
I recently came across a quote by Hal Borland which reads “If you would know strength and patience, welcome to the company of trees”, this got me thinking about how a specific tree has helped me with valuable lessons and just continues to teach me about life. It is the Apple-Leaf tree.
My love affair with this tree started from the minute I first read about it, its odd appearance and quirky name, the way it stands out from the crowd, is easily recognisable and the almost goofy nature to it, fueled me to find out more. The deeper I dug the more I fell in love.
An often solitary tree in the Savanna, unafraid, to be alone and growing in whichever direction it’s drawn showing a beautiful sense of wanderlust and independence, got me thinking about how we as humans have somewhat grown away from this. Always wanting recognition, gratification and approval, ahead of actually being comfortable with who we are. There is a special magic, about spending alone time with nature and the Apple-leaf is the perfect example of this.
The slow, unrushed growth of this tree gives it a very hardy wood and the best opportunity for survival against the worst of storms and winds, showing the merit in patience and perseverance. And that whatever we are trying to achieve in life, let it happen, allow it to be slow. We will be rewarded for it later.
Not only does this tree stand proud and is seemingly unafraid of the opinion of others, but it also has a nurturing side to it in that it acts as a pioneer species for an area by increasing the nitrogen levels in the soil and thus paving the way for new life. This caring side to the Apple-leaf shows us how important it is to enhance the area around us for the lives of others and work as a community for the greater good.
Often referred to as “The Rain Tree”, during certain times of the year the Apple-leaf gets attacked by the Spittlebug (Ptyelus grossis) causing exudation of water from stems and branches, to such an extent that it creates an impression that there is a light drizzle. The Apple-leaf again choosing to see the positive, actually uses this moisture to almost “self water” and because of this is able to survive in drought conditions.
It comes as no surprise that in local folklore it’s said: “if you keep a piece of the root in your pocket, you will always have friends.” As well as “The Apple-leaf is said to be a lucky charm and is used to resolve disputes.”
So much of what I personally struggle with in life, Where to from here? How do I look to others? Is age catching up with me? All of this is eased when I think of the Apple-leaf and how it finds a way to survive and enjoy life; while helping others to succeed and grow around it. With the world in its current situation of fear and angst with the Coronavirus, I think a lot of us should take a step back, slow down and be more like the Apple-leaf.