Both sides of the story

On a little mountain tucked away on a sheltered plateau grows the most spectacular tree. I could tell you that this is a Cussonia spicata, of the family Araliaceae – But, I would prefer to tell you about Mkhulu, Mkhulu the African faraway tree.

I could tell you that Cussonia spicata is found extensively throughout Southern Africa as well as her neighboring countries – But, I would much rather tell you that there are only two ways to reach Mkhulu. One is a long walk along a sun kissed plateau where the grass grows so high you have to fight your way through. The other dips down through a cool forested section in the lee of a cliff, where the only sounds are the twitter and call of the birds who live there. Down down the slippery slope you must scramble until you are finally standing in front of Mkhulu. Mkhulu the African faraway tree.

I could tell you that Cussonia spicata has an attractive iconic shape and is much sought after as a landscaping tree – But, I would much rather tell you that none can compare to the stature and presence of Mkhulu, Mkhulu the great. Who stretches up and out to the corners of the sky and reaches down deep through the ancient rocks and boulders. Anchored and assured through the passage of time stands Mkhulu. Mkhulu the African far away tree.

I could tell you that Cussonia spicata is an “attractive, quick growing, relatively long lived tree..”. – But, I would much rather tell you that Mkhulu was there watching from his station upon the mountain side, as battle cries and rifle shots erupted, canons were fired and a town was laid siege. A witness to the annals of history is Mkhulu. Mkhulu the African far away tree.

I could tell you that many insects butterflies and birds are attracted to the fruits of the Cussonia spicata. – But I would much rather tell you of picnics, oranges, wine gums and laughter enjoyed under the shady branches of Mkhulu. Mkhulu the African far away tree.

I could tell you that Cussonia spicata is a highly medicinal tree and valued for its anti fungal, anti bacterial, anti malarial, and anti viral properties. – But, I would much rather tell you that a heavy heart was lifted as silent secrets were shared and troubles were laid to rest at the feet of Mkhulu. Mkhulu the African far away tree.

I could tell you that Cussonia spicata produces many many tiny heads of flowers in Autumn on thick set spikes resembling candelabras. – But, I would much rather tell you that under the shade of Mkhulu a woman once glanced shyly at a man, and felt her heart lift and her world start to shift and in an instant a new season had began. And all under the branches of Mkhulu. Mkhulu the great African far away tree.

11 thoughts on “Both sides of the story

  1. This is a beautifully told story! You have drawn me right to the feet of this grand old tree – and to the woman glancing shyly at the man … as for the picture, it is wonderfully executed! You have lifted my own heart tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Anne. This is a very special tree to my family and I – and the man who has now become so integral to my life story. I am happy you enjoyed it. The drawing was a real labour of love and took many dedicated hours to do.

      Like

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