Many coastal dwellers or visitors will be familiar with brown tea-coloured creeks and lakes.
The paperbark swamp I walk past is overflowing now, the ‘tea’ spreading across the dirt road.
These Melaleucas or Paperbarks are often called tea trees because early settlers steeped the leaves in boiling water to make tea.
Their papery soft layers of bark have long been used by Aboriginal people: from carrying and warming, cooking, receiving and wrapping babies, to cups and domestic uses, to art and spiritual practices… paperbark is versatile. We are less imaginative, mainly using it as lining for plant baskets.
Many species are happy with wet feet. There are plenty of paperbark swamps in this mid coast area, but I have often seen them dry,
Tea-filled, the reflections of the trees add to the delights.
I was hoping to get past the reflections and find, on closer inspection, some sort of water-loving life, like the frogs I could hear. But the trees’ reflections won out, and by then I was sent hurrying home by the fine drizzle that has been our frequent companion here in between real showers.