The Park Ridge Tyre Trees by Dee Hudson
It was the summer of 2015/16 : my two daughters and I would make the weekly “trek” to dance classes at Logan Reserve. Part of the route involved travelling along the 7km of narrow, winding thoroughfare that is Park Ridge Road.
Sometime around November, a freshly painted Christmas tree – created from old tyres, hub-caps and tinsel – appeared at the front of an acreage property. Our weekly journey quickly became a little less mundane as we looked forward to catching a glimpse of what we then referred to as the “Tyre Tree”.
In early January, the Tyre Tree transformed into an Aussie Flag for Australia Day, then a Red Heart for Valentine’s Day. Occasionally we would see a lady out the front whose name I discovered was Cheryl. Once or twice I tooted the horn to say “thanks” (much to my daughters’ embarrassment). Cheryl would wave back, a warm smile beaming across her face.
Family dinner conversations turned to the Tyre Tree and what we thought was a simple, yet amazing phenomenon in “down-town Park Ridge”. I posted a hand-written thank you note – a little old-fashioned these days, I know – but Cheryl’s gift to the community well and truly deserved acknowledgement.
Cheryl continued her Tyre Tree messages – Indigenous themed ANZAC Day, RUOK Day and Pink Ribbon Day are just a few.
I would safely guess that many commuters on Park Ridge Road were possibly a little less lonely that summer; perhaps they felt motivated to check-in on others or to even check their own health, simply because of Cheryl’s timely messages.
If there is anything that helps humans feel more secure, it’s connecting with others. We humans are designed to feel better when our hearts are interwoven and we are close to a “tribe”. To connect, we must step out of our comfort zones in order to bond with others.
I now frequently post handwritten notes – a past-time inspired by Cheryl and the Park Ridge Tyre Tree. Thank you, Cheryl – for everything.