Dead trees are the bones of the plant world. Bone equivalent means the most persistent of life’s leftovers in the bush. These pale sentinels scattered in the veld, the monuments of yesteryear, remind of the cyclic nature of all life.
They also serve who only stand and wait... like dead trees wait upon the living (apologies to Milton): bird lookout, animal housing, micro-organism food, firewood for people. Whatever! The client is always right. Just serve!
Albeit not as remarkable as fossils, tracks on bare ground, like dead trees still standing are among the simplest forms of proof that there is a past. Not was, it’s still here clothed in its relics.
Projecting lines from the identified bits of remembered or discovered past through the present into the vagueness of future is a people pastime of note. Can dead trees impart insight about our future? Like the need to see more living trees or how fast the hardest wood turns to ashes? Or what trees teach animals about longevity and survival?
If the multitude of mammals, even birds, suddenly had to evolve better brains to cope with life’s complexities or become extinct, phenomena like dead trees might be clues pursued in the emergence of giraffe logic, meerkat philosophy and other serious competitive challenges to humanity. A growth in grey cells is bound to trigger contemplation of time lines, no matter the shape of the skull.
But these mammoth structures of dry wood, strongly suspected of having flowered and fruited earlier when nobody was looking or remembers, are not communicative. Frustrating the living daylights out of seekers of inklings about futures and meanings, there is no response but wooden nothing. Rooted in the ground and the past, stubbornly silent as absent gods, they will not be oracles.
Instead, they invite their beholders to hold the image, not to leave empty-handed. The visitor to the bush must take the picture and go home with a happy heart.
For oracles only work when good questions are asked; the search for an answer is in the mind, the revelation arriving in the fullness of time. Nature only serves to clear the mind, bestowing serenity for the soundest thoughts each mind is capable of, given its neurons.
So, little bird, think or defecate upon your branch as much as you like, in the end your brain holds your answer.