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Indira Naidoo reflects on her POEM FOREST poem.

When my younger sister died during the pandemic I was overcome with grief. And due to lockdown controls I was unable to seek my usual solace in the company of my friends and family.

Restricted to just a 5 kilometre radius around my home, I began taking a daily walk through Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens - a beautiful oasis on the fringe of the CBD set on the harbour.

These daily walks in nature calmed my troubled mind and my encounters with birds and feathers and puddles and little ants reminded me that the cycle of life continues even when you have lost something very dear in your life.

One day while resting on the grass I looked up and noticed a magnificent Moreton Bay Fig Tree encircled by a wooden walkway.

Its branches were laden with little berries and its thick roots spread from its trunk like the claws of a slumbering dinosaur.

I began visiting this beautiful tree and spending time under its calming shade. I didn’t have to talk or explain my feelings as I did with people. My tree allowed me to just ‘be’.

It inspired me to write a book about my experiences called The Space Between the Stars which is now helping other people who have loved and lost.

My tree is now visited by many people from around the country who say they also find solace when they are in its presence.

I hope my poem ‘The Healing Tree’ will introduce many more people to my wonderful tree and encourage them to notice the wonderful natural world around us that has been designed to nurture and comfort us.