There is a tree that once stood at the entrance to the old school house paddock, now it rests in a much bigger paddock. Its trunk lies along the ground having fallen there a long time ago. Its canopy has re-balanced perfectly and it thrives. This is a tree that is known. Under it, generations of my mother's family and neighbours have played and learnt their childhood lessons. I have a photograph of the children that attended the school which includes my grandparents, it was taken in 1918.
The trunk of this pine tree now provides a seat for around eight people or more. The bark has wrinkles that are inches thick, and its branches are good for climbing. Seated, there is a view of the mountain. Here, this Australian landscape is edged by pine needles just as the Japanese woodblock artist would have it, and so we are transported. In the heat the aroma is heavy and a breeze rushes through to take the worst of the day away.
This tree is where we go. This is where the true face of a person is held in portraits of one, and of many. This is where we thank, where we ask, where we wonder why, and where we work it out. It is where we cleanse our heart, mind and spirit. It is where we do the magic and exchange the negative for the positive. This is where it all began and where it will, happily, all end. This is where we sit by ourselves for long stretches of time and get to know a tree.