Magical Macrocarpa Medusa

As the autumn progresses, the weather gods have apparently decided that they’ve been nice enough to us, pampering us with warmer-than-normal delights (the temperature rose into the mid-60s here on Thanksgiving Day), and now it’s time to get back to normal business.  Winter will start officially in 26 days and, though no snow is predicted in the immediate future, it’s gray, chilly, and overcast.  To complete the bleak November picture, the wind has picked up over the past couple of days and is blustering around as I write this, snatching the last of the leaves from their tenuous holds on their branches.

I’ve been reflecting on other windy conditions that I’ve experienced—and especially on areas of the world that I’ve visited where there are serious prevailing winds—and my reflections were snapped into sudden focus when a message appeared in my InBox this morning, informing me of a new post by a photographer in England (FATman) whose work I follow, in which he presented a monochrome shot (click here) of a wind-bent tree that he’d photographed in Somerset several years ago.  This brought to mind a truly magical spot that I discovered while exploring the southern end of New Zealand’s South Island between Dunedin and Invercargill.  It’s on Slope Point, and a side road (I love side roads!) leads past a paddock that contains a grove of some of the most densely-packed and intertwined trees that I’ve ever seen.  The trees are members of one of my favorite species in that country:  Cupressus macrocarpa, which is also endemic to central California and is commonly known as the Monterey Cyprus.

But back to Slope Point.  The wind frequently roars in off the Foveaux Strait, and the trees are bent into fantastic shapes from decades of this irresistible force, the branches mingling with each other like a nest of snakes in an apparent attempt to hang on a little better, and the smaller branches have been forced to grow sideways, parallel to the ground.  There was a fence I had to climb over to get close enough to see them really well, and no “Keep Out” signs, but I was confident that—should someone appear to challenge me—I could explain my trespass with a few compliments on this natural wonder and a friendly smile.  (I’ve been able to return to the spot twice since my first visit, but I’ve never encountered another person, only a few sheep.)  The grove looks rather desolate from a distance, but up close there is an unexpected warmth that seems to come from its thickest parts, and there is a real aura of enchantment, hard to explain but strangely welcoming.  I really hope I may have the chance to return again someday.  (Thanks for the memory jog, FATman!)

From a distance

The power of the wind

Mutual support

Lean on me


About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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10 Responses to Magical Macrocarpa Medusa

  1. Adrian Lewis says:

    Beautiful pictures, Gary – I can see how my shot reminded you of them. Thanks for the link. Adrian

  2. Peggy says:

    This is truly amazing, what kind of habitats do you suppose reside there?
    Your comment “I love side roads” would be a great song.
    Hope your Thanksgiving was spectacular. Is Kat home now or is that in Dec. Please give Mom a hug from me.Loved the picture of the 3 girls on Facebook.
    Hugs, Peggy

  3. MikeP says:

    Hey … I can see the relationship with the CA trees. Amazing how nature (wind) over time can mold and bend trees. Love the pics… glad you got closer… the detail is fantastic.

    • krikitarts says:

      I hope someday I may have the chance to explore the natural delights of California, including the relatives of these trees. I’ve never had the chance to spend any time there except for passing through on my way to New Zealand, Australia, Japan, or Hong Kong (and one 3-day work-related visit in LA. In spite of being an Ansel Adams disciple, I’ve never even been to Yosemite, alas!

  4. Jacqueline Neubauer says:

    I am always truly amazed in all of your work, Very Beautiful and unique, some of the best photography I have seen. So proud to know you and be a relative of yours! I always follow your work…

  5. Wow, that’s pretty incredible, and very dramatic! I’m just trying to picture what they might look like at night, or better yet, dusk. Do you possibly have any night shots of them? I suppose not since you were only visiting, but maybe?

    • krikitarts says:

      I was, unfortunately, never able to go at dawn or dusk, but I kept hoping I’d catch it in the fog. That didn’t happen, either, but it’s still compelling, enchanted, and a little spooky. On my last visit I tried to get into it to get a sense of its internal character, but it was too dense to penetrate. I remember that there was some sort of little shed, probably for firewood storage, and I’d like to go back and do some studies of that as well–hopefully someday. Thanks for stopping by my site!

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