A couple of months after the central third of our biggest remnant red gum crashed to earth, I climbed into the centre of the fallen limbs to try to remove some timber for erosion control structures. I was surrounded by the faint, constant pattering of distant rain. The tree was rustling, but no wind moved the leaves. I put my ear to the boughs and realised the sound was coming from inside, exhaling as the timber dried and cracks slowly opened in the bark. Meanwhile, in the leaf litter below, the spiders and beetles delight in the thick undergrowth of their new canopy.