Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia


“…and you too have come

into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled

with light, and to shine.”

Mary Oliver

I planned to go to Bilpin today, to pick apples. Pink Ladies. 

Then I contemplated three or four hours sitting in Saturday morning traffic, crawling from the centre of Sydney to the Bells Line of Road, and I took a walk to the local market instead. I bought a bag of Braeburn. 

Seeking solace amongst trees, I cut through Callan Park. It was hard to escape the noise of the city: motorbikes, sirens, dogs, cars, a helicopter circling overhead. The 24/7 roadworks associated with WestConnex were probably in the mix somewhere, all clamouring for attention.

Maybe that’s why I like Broken Hill so much. Out there, where earth and sky meet, you can listen to the land.  

We took a drive to Menindee on our last visit and stopped at Copi Hollow. It was quiet, hardly anyone around.

‘What’s that?’ I asked Clyde. ‘Listen.’

He listened for a while, then smiled. ‘It’s the trees,’ he said. 

And it was. We set camping chairs under a tree next to the water and sat awhile, listening to the trees, enjoying the music of thousands of leaves rustling in the breeze. 

It made me think of this poem by Mary Oliver. 

When I am among the trees

by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.
I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.
Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.
And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

2 comments on “Listening

  1. monsoonwendy
    May 20, 2021

    Mary Oliver is one of my all time favourite poets and if I get to the slam I will be reading one of hers!! So looking forward to listening to the trees. I can hear them now.


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This entry was posted on May 15, 2021 by and tagged , , , .

I'm a writer based in Australia with a passion for gardening, remote places and people with a story to tell.

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