Friday, September 21, 2012

Green Crowns

As a generalisation, colonising states disregard or override the life and the value of the life of those colonised.
Yet there are always those from among the colonisers who open themselves to their new world.
Mary Quick, about whom I can find nothing, published this book, 'Green Crowns', with The Juniper Press at Burradoo in New South Wales, in 1955. "An account of the native trees on the hills around Robertson, N.S.W.", it  seeks to commemorate a landscape unseen by most of its colonisers, and does so in kid gloves.
Finding an old sign advising 'Motor Speed Limit, 6 ( ie 6 miles per hour! ), the author tells how traffic now moves swiftly. "No longer can we recapture the frame of mind that felt life safer at something under six miles an hour". What would Mary think now as we all zoom without restraint?
Discovering this slender book took me home to where my heart is, in a slower world. Me? I am tired of rapidity and the marvels of science, of all of human conquering. Whatever happened to belonging, and to honouring what is given us? To now and here?
Above, 'Coachwoods at Burrawang', one of numerous wood-engravings "made on Turkish boxwood and Australian white beech'.
And here, a botanical drawing of the Coachwood ( Ceratopetalum apetalum ), as drawn by John Quick.
'Green Crowns' talks principally about half a dozen trees indigenous to Robertson and their rightful place in their landscape, despite the compromises colonisation has made them suffer.
Yellow sassafras, above, is one of them. Could it not be said that as we forge our way relentlessly, we human beings neglect the world around us?
Every care has been taken here to present a case simply. Above is Acmena ( now Syzygium ) smithii, a 'lillipilli' or Lilly Pilly, noted for its mauve berries.
And here is 'Brown Barrel' or Eucalyptus fastigata.
It's easy to suppose that environmentalism is a new issue, but the truth is there have always been among us those who care for the world around them regardless of politics and and the investment of power.
Those who speak quietly often have more to say than those who shout.
I know that I can cope with whatever the future throws at me. But if the future is one disconnected from nature, it won't be a better world.


  1. Hello Faisal:
    Alas, we fear that your opening generalisation has far too much in the way of truth attached to it. We have, between us, a set of grandparents who were, with their parents before them , part of the British Raj in India. Some of the stories which have descended to our generation are best left unsaid.

    This is such a beautiful book by Mary Quick and one which, as you show, carries the most delightful illustrations and is so obviously presented in a sensitive and thoughtful way. A charming possession in which you must take continued pleasure.

    Sadly, increasingly, we are uncertain that we can take whatever the future throws at us but, of course, have little option otherwise. Your faith and optimism in tomorrow act as a strength and we must all pray for a greater connection with Nature and self.

    1. Hello Jane and Lance:
      myself, I feel that it's the momentum of the state that's to blame, not necessarily individuals. There have always been individuals who cared, in the direst of straits.
      In the defence of any of our ancestors, it often wasn't known that there was any other way to act but that which was publicly perceived. There is no point burdening our ancestors with do so negates the good they intended, whether it really was good or not. The point is, all of us act in ways we regard as reasonable at the time, which may not be regarded as so later.
      I think I'm giving the book away next week as a birthday present.
      You two have managed to embrace an ever-changing world far better than most, I would say. You should have nothing to fear. You are a pair of brave souls, honest, kind, sincere. None of us can be more. Look now at Jesus Christ, the most honest and gentle of them all. He suffered monumentally, but he did not stop loving.
      Of course, negative forces will always try to undermine us in this world, but it is what is in our hearts that shows us what is real.

    2. You are very kind. We really appreciate what you have written here.

    3. Kind? Kindness is not so hard. You know, Jesus Christ instructed us to give our love. It doesn't matter who we are or where we are, but to give our love takes us closer to Heaven.
      I want to be there, in Heaven, and I want to meet you there. As I want to meet all who are sincere.
      You have no idea how much your goodwill has mattered to me.

  2. H Faisal, I've just discovered a blog that gives me hope for the future: it's url is As long as there are guerilla gardeners there won't be a world totally disconnected from nature. Certainly Mary Quick writes about another slower quieter time, and thanks for a lovely post (as usual). cheers, cm

    1. Hi Catmint,
      thankyou. I've had a look at the Pothole Gardener, and am now subscribing. There's always hope, there always was and there always will be.
      Me? I just like to go a little slower than the world is now moving. Perhaps a benefit of getting older is being able to do so without being too concerned what others think. I don't mind the quickness so much; what I don't like is the attendant carelessness.
      I can't believe how quickly the world is moving. It's not going to stop or slow down any time soon. We have to remember that our dreams for a better life may only come about in the next life, and that is not so very far away...

  3. Ah, time for contemplation. Almost a lost art. Beautiful book and illustrations.

  4. You know, James, being where we are and maybe doing nothing much is an art. And it's almost forgotten now, when we're all so busy tapping into one another, obsessing, being special...
    I reckon the world could slow down several hundred miles.

  5. Hello Faisal,
    A very nice post, my friend.
    The very fact that nowadays houses are being built with smaller and smaller gardens is indicative of this new world that is somehow disassociating itself from nature - a sad sad reality that I do not understand.
    In your reply to Lance you talk of kindness. How often we fail in this regard - or at least how often I do!
    I think that to live a life full of kindness is an aim we should all aspire too.
    Kindness in all things and to all things.
    Bye for now,

    1. Hello Kirk,
      Thankyou, my friend.
      Yes, it's becoming a smaller world. There are, however, many who from between the walls of this smaller world encourage life.
      Kindness is generosity and comes from the heart. It is something that comes from the finer part of us. None of us is perfect. For me, I feel I can absolve myself of some of my faults by giving. Talking to you now is giving, in its own way, and I'm glad I can. As I'm glad to get to know you.
      Bye to you too,

  6. You always discover the most wondrous books Faisal.
    Love the illustrations on this one : )

  7. I spend alot of time bookselling Demie, so I'm always finding something interesting! Thankyou.

  8. I see this in my suburban home. the parents are working so the kids can't play outside. when the parents are home and the kids can play outside, they can't play in the woods or the creek because the parents say it's too are growing up without experiencing the love and joy and knowledge of nature....
    i am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

  9. Annmarie, I'm really only interested in following gardening/art/eccentricity/books/environmental blogs, and already have too many to follow adequately. I have had a look at yours and it seems admirable; you certainly have a huge following.
    I appreciate your comment and wish you well.

  10. Love the illustrations in the book.