I took this image in the school grounds of a local High school in Brisbane. The grounds are lovely for the students – native bushland, with birds all round.

The contrasts of colours, the light dappled through the leaves pulled my eye and for some reason my emotions.

I kept coming back to it because it made me happy, and it took me quite a while to figure out why.  On the surface, this looks like a ‘wounded’ tree.   A limb  been violently torn from the branch in a storm.   I could have been mourning the loss of its perfection and beauty, but I wasn’t.

What I finally realised was that this eucalyptus was offering me both its inner and outer beauty.  The deep red heart and the smooth grey-white bark.  The storm had given me a rare look into the centre of a live tree.  That section of branch may look wounded, but  birds will nest in it, spiders will spin webs and hide from predators.

The resilience of the eucalyptus has meant that the remaining connection has been enough to allow it to continue to live, and the torn wood is gradually growing a protective bark. The heart will remain open for many years, providing safety for some.

For me, the beauty of the open heart is a reminder that we do not need to hide our heart, our core away.  We don’t need to wrap it in thick impenetrable bark.  We can have an open heart to inspire others, to show our beauty. What needs to be protected will be.  The generation of new growth and changed uses encourages me to see that losses can be new directions.

There is much beauty in imperfection, and inspiration in what looks to be destruction.