David Cauldwell


David CauldwellComment

It didn’t matter that it was winter, that the temperature during the day wasn’t going to get above freezing. It didn’t matter either that I’d never been hiking in serious snow before, let alone in snow shoes. 

What awaited on that alpine plateau in Victoria (in Australia’s high country) was a cabaret of dancing snowgums. Alive, these trees have red, yellow, green and grey trunks. The colour is accentuated in snowfall; moisture seems to saturate the hues. What really took my breath away is when I reached a section of dead snowgums. They were so vibrant in death, their silver branches reaching out towards each other as if desperately trying to reconnect. All of the branches in this forest were turned in towards each other. It was like one massive party except all of the attendees were dead. 

I sat in this forest for a while and got a sense of the spirits in these trees, still so present even though they were in various states of decay. Thank you to the snowgums for reminding me that life doesn’t stop after death. 


In the death I will seek thee
Through the cavernous tickle of your root system
Ushering me off to my next post
Will I be held sentinel once more?
I hope to dance
So in death the cabaret begins
With silver limbs I’ll carousel ingl the afterlife
Long after the last leaf lost
The snow shall fall to celebrate this life in death
And then
In one sun-drenched moment
To the tune of an alpine parrot
And a cockatoo ripping off bark
We’ll unite in death
And our branches will touch once again

What experiences have you had to reaffirm that it’s not necessarily lights out after death? Drop me a note (preferably before you drop dead)...