For years I have sat in the park under this tree.
It is a camphor laurel which is not a native species and a lot of my fellow residents complain about it not being a good old Aussie tree.
It may not be fair dinkum but it is a beautiful tree, nonetheless.
It has been there for over fifty years. Let it grow, I say. Let it grow.
I have a confession to make.
I pray under trees.
I think there are spirits of some kind within them. I can feel them.
Last year, this first day of winter, I sat under this tree and asked for help.
The depression was bad, the stress was worse. It felt like it would never end.
The tree was dependable, branches raised like a preacher. Birds called back and forth within it. A small boy walked round and round its enormous trunk, counting in a jumbled up way – one, five, eight, two.
It seemed that this had always been a safe place where breathing in the smell of the dirt, the wood and the leaves was a remedy for anything.
I sat there under that tree the way I had minus one year, minus five years, minus ten years. And I knew I would sit there again. And again.
And that everything would be OK.
There is a thing that I do during good times, during bad times. It is remembering the moment. If it’s good I want to commit it to memory so I can recall it when times are tough. If it’s bad I want to know that it won’t last forever, so I say: Remember this moment and give thanks it will end.
I kept a small branch of the tree that had fallen in a jar. For an entire year. It sat on my desk among the bric a brac. It smelled as if a forest was in my room. The year, the bad year, was a year of sorting things out. The sorting still goes on but the bad feelings are better, maybe even good.
The first day of winter. Exactly a year has passed. How precise is the course of change.
The tree still stands.
I still stand.
Remember this moment.
It’s a prayer that always works.
Good or bad.
It is something you can’t lose sight of.
The tree remains.
And I remain.
Free to sit like days gone by.
And days to come.