The Story That Happened Around The Big Tree.
I want to tell you the story of a beautiful place from the point of view of a tree that has stood there for a long, long time. For between two and three and thousand years, to be exact. During this time it has seen it all – some of it more than once. What, for you or I, represents years of toil and endeavor is but a moment for the Big Tree of Chishakwe …
Its story, as I mentioned, begins long ago. At a time when there was nothing at all but the sun rising and setting on the bush and on the animals that lived in it. Each day was much the same as the next and each season ran its inexorable course, unrecorded other than by the growth of the trees.
The only people were the cave dwelling people who lived in the area. From time to time they passed the tree, gathering roots or bark, or berries … or perhaps silently stalking some or other animal to shoot with a sharp, hand crafted arrow. Such was the harmony with their environment and its bounty that these people left no sign behind them other than their art on the walls of the caves where they sheltered.
In time more people came. Tribes people and European people. These people had hard lives. They were at odds with the environment; trying to tame it and bend it to their will. They battled illness, drought, wild animals and even each other. The Big Tree saw it all.
They left behind them their graves and many stories of brave adventure, of grief and pain and some of love and joy. And still the Big Tree stood; keeping its silent vigil over the passing of time and the enduring cycle of nature.
And at last the people turned back to the natural ways. They formed a vast Wildlife Conservancy and directed their efforts to restoring the animals and the innate natural balance to the area.
Now, once again, the Big Tree stands in peace, enjoying the natural rhythm and the serenity of the African Bush. Only the passing of animals and the odd visitor staring up, with a sense of something very close to spiritual awe, create gentle ripples in its long existence.
The Big Tree of Chishakwe is without peer amongst the many grey giants of the Save Valley Conservancy. There are those that are noteworthy for their size or age, others that stand out for their unique shape or position. All are worth seeing and as well as being an attraction in their own right they provide a statuesque back drop (and in some cases, home) to multiple birds and animals of the Save Valley Conservancy.