On a bright, balmy Friday morning, five amazeball TBLers (Kenny, Pam, Michelle, Diane and I) gathered at Circular Quay. No, it was not to attempt the Harbour Bridge climb but rather to plant trees. Now, you may be picturing a clan of hippies eager to hug a few trees, but while we don’t sport dreadlocks there would inevitably be some tree hugging.
Upon gathering, we boarded a giant ship strongly reflective of the Titanic. Actually, it was a ferry, but there may have been some “I am the King of the World”s and “Hold me Jack”s yelled across the Harbour during the ride to Taronga Zoo.
After taking the scary cable car to the top of the Zoo, we met a few khaki clad zoo keepers (that is the technical name) who ushered us into the kangaroo enclosure. The five of us intently searched for ‘Skippy the Bush Kangaroo’ but were introduced to an… emu? That was a definite surprise but there were trees to plant and trees to hug so we got straight to work. The Friendly Khaki Clad Men (FKCM) had already dug holes for us which I would forever be grateful for.
As the first plant went into the ground, we could smell the fresh soil and there was a magical moment of nostalgia. If we closed our eyes, we could easily have been back in Warialda singing ‘everyday we’re shuffling’ as we slowly changed the world, one shuffle at a time.
The five of us expected a hard day’s work and that is exactly what we got. We got into a rhythm: remove plant from pot, place plant in hole, fill the hole with soil, say Hi to the wandering emu, remove another plant from pot, place plant in hole etc .......well you get the gist.
As the TBL experience had transformed us into tree planting machines, we completed the planting in the kangaroo enclosure faster than anticipated. Hence, we then went into another area to plant a tree that would put any big tree to shame I am sure. So we all started digging a hole large enough to hold this astonishingly large tree.
We dug and dug and sweated and dug. And then....SHOCK HORROR! The shovel hit a water pipe. While my instincts told me to crawl into a hole (literally) and cry at our fruitless hard work...the extraordinary TBL spirit kicked in.
We tried again.
Upon completing this, we had lunch, saw a goat on top of a roof, took loads of photos (where was Tuan when we needed him?) and saw a chimpanzee. So much win right there.
While I don’t remember the exact words that the FKCM uttered, it went along the lines of: “You guys did a wonderful job!” and “This Big Lift program sounds absolutely amazeballs!”
Ok, I have to be honest, they didn’t use the term ‘amazeballs’ but they did use ‘impressive’, ‘excellent’ and ‘super duper.’
All in all, the day encapsulated everything we love about The Big Lift: hard work, giving back to the community, smiles and a whole lotta shuffling! Will there be more events like this? ....You better believe it! So come along next time :)
By Nutella Nadeshda