Trees are always beautiful in every season…and down by our river there are still autumn colours but the Eucalyptus are showing a promise of things to come.  Their arms stretch to heaven, and the joy they bring brightens the earth.

In the words of Joyce Kilmer:

I think that I shall never see
a poem lovely as a tree.


The road to Jerusalem winds with the curves of the river, around clay cliffs and through pine forests.  Sunlight filters through tenacious trees, sometimes lighting up a leaf, outlining a rock.  The peace is palpable, floating down from distant hilltops.

I leave the car and wander the river bank, search for fossils in the cliffs.  No sounds except birdsong and the occasional bleating of sheep.   Seed-heads are already forming on the wild parsley, and where the sun is warmest, the scent of gorse flowers.

trees tall
above the leaning cliffs

(for D’verse haibun Monday)


These are the large, unripe drupes of the New Zealand Karaka tree (Corynocarpus laevigatus).  They are coloured orange when ripe.  Several bird species feed on ripe Karaka fruits – among them the Silvereye, Myna, Starling, House Sparrow and the Blackbird.  The only birds that swallow a whole fruit are the New Zealand Pigeons (Kereru), and they are well-known dispersers of the seeds.  Blackbirds may also disperse the seeds by carrying the fruit further off from the tree.

But be warned, the fruit is extremely toxic to both humans and dogs, and must on no account be eaten.  Maori state that the pulpy part of the fruit is edible, though bitter, but the seed highly poisonous unless carefully prepared by cooking and soaking.  Early cases of poisoning by eating Karaka were not uncommon.