The Listening Tree

I learned about the power of the Listening Tree when I was approximately seven years old but forgot that I knew, until recently. Kate McKinnon, the great niece of Archie Hair, passed on a book by Brian O'Keefe, that had been passed on to her. As soon as I saw the images I remembered what I had long known and was overwhelmed with emotion. With the image of the Listening Tree came a swarm of memories of those enchanted days at The Arches.

Archie Hair, a prospector, who lived at 'The Arches', alongside the Freestone Creek, a stone's throw from the Blue Pools, had a persuasive silver tongue and filled us with wonderment as we clambered through the bush each month at Froam, on one of his now legendary treasure hunts.

On one of these forays into the bush Archie introduced me to a Listening Tree whose girth was similar to the one photographed here.

As a child who lived in a world of imagination and fantasy I was receptive to the notion that an old tree had soaked up the wisdom of its age and would tell its story if you just sat with your ear against the trunk and quietly listened. After all, I had always been able to hear the sound of the sea in the gracious old sea shell that my grandparents had picked up on a beach in Queensland.

Few Listening Trees remain today but some of their knowledge has survived to create a sense of wonder and incredulity at the mysteries of nature. Having regularly listened to the Listening Tree in the bush behind The Arches I like to believe some of the magic was passed on through me and now lives in Lemuria.

 

Gippsland Listening Tree


photograph courtesy of Brian O'Keefe

It was said that the underlying philosopy of the Listening Tree's narratives had no cultural boundaries, so it was not uncommon for a story, heard in one country, to eventually become a part of the folklore of another.

Sit under this ancient tree and listen.

Narrate the story it tells and add it to the Lemurian forum or send it directly to heatherblakey@iprimus.com.au and have it included in an archive on this page.

Listening Tree Narratives

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