Stepping into the forest ocean floor of leaves. Scooping up a handful to drink and wash my face. It is early winter and the well loved ‘foreigner’ trees in Val’s garden have lost their leaves, their lichen covered bones are sticking out. Their small twig ends; chewed and dropped remind me of other little bones; Alice’s rat bones hidden deep in the stone fireplace—meat long gone toward other. No ghostly, otherworldly chimney exits for Alice. Neither for Val nor Victor. Victor’s wombat bones of root and carrot lie somewhere in an unknown chamber of his mountain burrow. Val lies also in the ground. Those little boneless butterfly feet cued the mourning crowd that it was OK to let go, to let Val return her library book; it’s pages, words, letters, bones, clothes, smile and intellect. Surrounded by bones, knee deep in them, Plumwood Mountain reminds me to negotiate and make culture with the full spectrum of life. To paraphrase Tagore, love the earth and it will reveal itself to you.
–Anne Edwards, resident caretaker of Plumwood Mountain, near Braidwood, New South Wales.
Plumwood muscle © Anne Edwards
Plumwood tree on Plumwood Mountain