'Because a tree bloomed seasonally we felt its body like our own. A tree stood still and yet suffered change. A tree growing old grew down into itself. Trees could not heal wounds, only cover them up. Trees were magnificent survivors. Trees got used. Trees behaved erratically under stress. Trees strove to fulfill an ideal shape but were twisted out of it by pressures of existence.' In THE TREE IN CHANGING LIGHT, Roger McDonald meditates on our unique landscape and its rich tapestry of native and introduced trees, which 'give language to our existence'. His most intimate and personal book to date, it also celebrates country men like his grandfather Chester Bucknall, a forester and pine-planter, of whom he writes,'I believe him to have been a dreamer about trees'; Wilf Crane, Roger McDonald's mentor with trees who flew planes across country on solo planting raids and whose death while flying inspired this book; and Tom Wyatt, a bush gardener whose dedicated hands made trees bloom in Queensland towns.
Here too are historical vignettes of a landscape husbanded for many centuries by Aborigines, yet swiftly and irrevocably changed by European settlement; encounters with poets and painters inspired by trees; tales of ordinary people for whom trees are talismanic; and interwoven throughout are autobiographical sketches, slices of family history and episodes from Roger McDonald's own life as a writer and sometime planter of trees. An unusual and beautiful book, THE TREE IN CHANGING LIGHT is the moving and personal statement of a writer about his relationship with the land, with language, with memory and with Australia's cultural and literary heritage.