The small Melaleuca trees in the dry Queensland bush – small, thin and bent like ageing jockeys. They have paper bark and scant yellow bottlebrush flowers. In a favourite haunt, there was one that I could climb when I was a thin-limbed pre-adolescent.
above black rocks
a child’s legs swing
At Blackheath boarding school, at the back of the sports field, the poinciana tree. Poincianas have such a beautiful umbrella shape and this was a good climbing tree. Someone had hoisted an old bed-base up there. It sagged like a hammock and was a good place for hiding from teachers when you were meant to be doing sport, and a good place for teenage dreaming.
against forever blue
we discuss boys
The pine trees at the bottom of our place, like guard trees. Growing underneath: daffodils, jonquils, ixias and daisies. Our children sat down there in spring with green light in their hair.
skirts around the monster
her mother’s rusted swing
The kids’ old tree feels like a family member. A very ancient stringy bark, it housed their swings and ladders, and the tree house that Dirk built, putting his back into it, his muscles and will, on the edge of manhood. The kids are adults now and it died in the drought three summers back.
a requiem of mist
for the old man tree
that our children climbed
There are many more trees that I could mention and it seems that they all involve dreaming. Time and cares dissolve into the gentle movement of leaves or the fatherly bulk of their trunks. Space appears between thoughts.
on waxy leaves