In the south-west of Tasmania a massive Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) stands 100 metres tall. It is the world’s second tallest tree and the tallest flowering plant.
For five hundred years it has survived fires and evaded the saws of humans – unlike other trees that were even taller. It was given the name Centurion, because it was the one-hundredth of the giant trees to be registered. The name however, perfectly embodies not just its height but also the character of this majestic survivor.
The song traces Centurion’s journey from a tiny seed, just 2 millimetres, striving to reach up into the light from the forest floor and to send its roots deep into the soil below. After five centuries it continues to grow. When finally its life ends, through the wonder of regeneration its seeds will take root and continue the legacy of the mighty Centurion – giant of the forest.
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Giant of the Forest
I fell to the earth A tiny seed Five hundred years ago Struggling and striving to grow straight and strong Here in my mountain forest home
I am Centurion
I have seen the fires raging over ridges Skeletons left in their wake I have heard the steel blades Tearing through the tall trees The crack and the crash as they fall
Still… I am Centurion Giant of the forest
And when my life ends A seed will fall Onto the earth below Struggling and striving to grow straight and strong Here in my mountain forest home
Rising up Striving for life-giving light Down, down, down Delving down deep Into Earth’s damp fertile soil