My daughter from New Zealand is staying for a few days and we went for a drive up into the hinterland, a winding road taking us 800 metres above the hot, humid coast and into a cooler climate of the rainforest. Come with us for a walk into this delightful eco system.A slight breeze whispers through the canopy as we meander along the dappled track. The only sounds are the calls of birds hidden in the dense foliage and the scrunching of the bark and fallen leaves under our feet. A peaceful haven of tranquillity. Communing with nature. But all is not as peaceful as it seems.
Danger lurks in a hidden and unexpected place….
Into this tranquil setting flies a bird, or maybe a bat, that has eaten berries and while sitting in the top of the trees the seed has been passed through its system and deposited in a small bundle of manure high up in the canopy. The seed germinates. Slowly the aerial roots begin their long, slow descent down the trunk of the host tree. They twist and twine searching for the earth.
In the above photo, if you look carefully at the tree on the right, you will see what looks like a vine but is the root of the strangler fig. The tree on the left has older more mature roots totally encasing its poor host.It will take many years but gradually the roots encase the complete trunk. Finally they reach the ground and burrowing into the earth they now have their own support system.It is murder by stealth. the Strangler Fig now grows thicker and stronger squeezing the host tighter and tighter. It is a long and excruciating process for the host, but finally the host tree dies and decays leaving the Strangler fig with a hollow centre. A story of survival that has taken decades to enactThis week it is Leya’s turn to host the “Len’s-artists photo challenge”. What an unexpected and thought provoking challenge it is.
I would also like to link with Cathy at “wander essence” who invites us to contribute a prose article. Cathy has recently walked the Camino pilgrim trail and she writes so eloquently about the good parts and doesn’t leave out the hard challenging bits either.