Sculpted by the wind

Have you ever thought about what shapes us?

The notion came to mind as Summer blustered in early, all moody skies and hot sticky breath.

Recently I wrote about the impact siblings have had on my life and how it has shaped me as a person. The influence other people, events and environment have on us, is also a deciding factor in who we become. Not that I’m suggesting that we reach some end game in all of this person-shaping. Who we are now is not who we will be tomorrow, or beyond for that matter. I firmly believe we’re all works in progress.

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

โ€• Dr. Seuss


Now, with the advent of the new season, I see all around me the way Nature shapes gardens and indeed, people. Only a few trees and plants are deciduous in the subtropical climate of the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. But those that do lose their foliage over winter are enough to remind me of the seasonal influence. There are other forces at work too.

On my walk early this morning I was reminded of this by an amazing example of a tree shaped by the wind. When I took the above photo during winter, the tree was leafless and bare. Now it’s ‘frocked-up’ with the new summer season’s green growth. In addition to the more temporary changes in its foliage, I pondered how the prevailing southerly wind across the waters of the Terranora Inlet have sculpted its unique shape over theย  seasons of its life.

In the same neighborhood, others of its genus are less remarkable in form. They too, are governed by the conditions of their location and their environment. In suburban gardens, gardeners may impose dubious aesthetics of shape, pruning the poor things to within inches of their lives; perhaps imagining their work as some ‘improvement’ on Nature. Or in more expansive public areas where space allows, this variety of tree might express its more natural form. Factors like soil , degrees of light or shade, nourishment and water are also instrumental to its growth patterns. Planted in the wrong place these trees may fail to thrive. Given optimum conditions the reverse is true and they become something to behold.

Kind of like us don’t you think?



More opportunistic plants court serendipity, like this tiny vinca/periwinkle which has bravely ridden the winds of chance to thrive in an unlikely place – the embrace of a huge fig.

Perhaps there’s a lesson for me there .



Only a fool plants a cactus and a fern in the same planter box and expects them to thrive.
โ€• Germany Kent

12 responses to “Sculpt

  1. That is an amazingly shaped tree. I can’t decide if it reminds me more of an elaborate 1950’s-style quiff or Woody Woodpecker. Incidentally, I have taken careful note of the quotation in your post and in my guide to growing cactus plants I have written and double-underlined “No ferns!”


  2. Another thought provoking post Robyn.

    I recall the first time I visited a region of the east coast of the USA — the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Similar (but on a much larger scale) to Bribie Island. On the ocean side, many trees were facing away from the water — a consequence of the powerful storms/hurricanes that the area knows only too well. On the protected side, the influence of the ravages of mother nature were not so evident; protection can sometimes allow something to follow the path it desires.

    I guess you could liken that to a child, growing up under the protective arms of its parents; when eventually the child grows and ventures outside of the protection, he/she can choose different paths, all with different possible outcomes.

    In my case, I was shaped in many ways by my father — a blue collar worker in a very hot and toxic workplace who was intent on exposing me to life. Who encouraged me to join a pen friends club as a young teenager and find out about the world. In my late teens I ventured out into that world, and some 40 years on, that interest has never waned. Now departed for some 20 years, his impact upon me as an adult become more and more apparent every day.

    Your post brought back some warm memories. As I said, thought provoking. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

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