Just below the house where I spend weekends is a grove of handsome trees, spotted gums (aka Corymbia maculata) interspersed with stringy bark. We’ve watched them grow from striplings in the 45 years we’ve known this block. We’ve raked and composted their leaves, slung clotheslines between them, sought mobile reception perched on a mossy bole at that magic spot where, if we’re lucky, two bars appear. Towards the end of last year, late (a privilege of beauty), the spotted gums set about the ravishing business of shedding bark. I take advantage of a non-beach afternoon to capture the process of this shedding
I’ve never actually scrutinised the process before, and I’m interested in the way it happens. First a vertical split. Then a peeling back, a detachment, little pieces breaking away, but not quite completely, like the doors of an advent calendar, to reveal the underflesh. Soon the whole trunk is little doors, sometimes pinned by a tiny knot. Then gradually, and much faster if the wind rises, the bark falls from the tree and it’s up to its fetlocks in bark strips.
This week as DJ posts a fading rose on RegularRandom, I offer an unveiling into naked white glamour.