Occupy Faith

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tree of Life

Thanks to Miss Eagle for the invitation to post on this blog.

On the first day out at "The Nine Mile", I pointed out to her that one of the local shrubs was absolutely buzzing with the sounds of insects.

The shrub, a form of Emu Bush, or Boobialla (Boobialla montana), was heavily in flower, with insignificant looking white flowers, with purple spots.

I should say "tiny" not insignificant - for we tend to view things from the human perspective only.

"Lady Bird" Beetle
The flowers were far from insignificant to the thousands of ants, wasps, "Lady Bird" Beetles, flies and other insects which were crawling all over the bush. Also there were birds flitting in and out of this tree.

That's when Miss Eagle dubbed it the "Tree of Life" (not original, but apt).

The whole tree was literally "humming" - you could hear the noise from metres away (if you listened). I guess, the point is those last few words.

As with most things in this harsh outback (lets call it "desert") landscape, one has to be "tuned in" to realise what is going on around you. Life in the desert gets on with doing its own thing, when circumstances are right for it. Clearly, just now, after an inch or so of Spring Rains in the district, was the right season for the Boobialla to flower, and the insects responded to that "invitation".
Ichneumonid Wasp
hanging upside down
Some insects would get nectar or pollen from the flowers. In turn, they would (hopefully) pollinate the flowers. That action is necessary for the plant - that allows the plant to set seed for future generations.

Other insects, such as hover flies and ants would be there to keep the plant free of damaging sucking insects, which otherwise would weaken the plant. The wasps (left) would be there looking for caterpillars to capture, in which to lay their eggs. The Lady Bird beetle (above) would be looking for aphids.

Later in the season, if the insects have done their job of pollination (and they were surely working on it when I was there) this bush will produce succulent berries. Those berries will attract Emus, and other birds, and probably small marsupials, to eat the fruit, to disperse the seeds away from the base of this plant, and to help them germinate elsewhere.
A bush meditation

The whole circle of life was laid out before our eyes, in this one single shrub. It gives one plenty on which to meditate - on the interconnectedness of things, on their dependence one upon another, and on their bounty - even in an otherwise harsh desert environment.

Life keeps on giving - even in the desert. It is a great and wondrous paradox.

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