Legacy trees and Melbourne flu

legacy tree

I was having a ho hum week.

Nothing terrible but I was recovering from losing my voice and a bout of Melbourne flu – which is challenging when you run lots of workshops. Plus I was approaching a milestone birthday and that always prompts a fair amount of introspection.

So I had to drag myself out to attend events I’d previously committed to, rather than opting for the doona and Netflix. The unexpected benefit – despite possibly prolonging my vocal recovery – was three nights of inspiration.

Firstly I went to the Skyline Foundation Chair’s reception. Skyline supports disadvantaged and gifted kids to get a good education. Next it was YGAP and a farewell to Elliot Costello who is stepping down as CEO after ten years. Both these Organisations are ones we are proud to support at Changeable. Finally I went to the HRAFF (Human Rights Arts Film Festival) Gala. All of this makes me sound more virtuous than I actually am but I have to say I was well and truly uplifted by the end of it, if not a little hoars-er.

The new CEO of the Skyline Foundation finished her speech with this quote, ‘True meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.’

Legacy Tree

This prompted me to think quite literally about a tree at our place near Kyneton, which was almost destroyed by bushfire. Way up high on a hill the Californian Redwood sits starkly surrounded by sheep and stonewalls. During the Black Saturday fires in Victoria, at considerable risk to his own safety, one of the previous owners climbed into the tree and stayed up all night putting out embers so the tree survived. I have never met this man but hope to thank him one day – apparently he still lives locally. The Redwood is magnificent, rare and would not be there except for this man’s tending. Another local, Bushy, a stonemason who is building some walls for us noticed the tree on a reconnaissance to our place. He stood admiring it and asked us if we had considered planting some ‘legacy trees’ so that in years to come others would be able to stand here looking up enjoying the trees as we are now.

legacy tree


Coincidentally, my parents have just been visiting for my dad’s 80th and want to buy us a ‘house’ present. Inspired by Bushy’s remarks we have asked them for a couple of special trees – at the moment we are considering a Chestnut.


A Provocative Question

At Changeable, we often ask people we are coaching, ‘what is the legacy you want to leave?’

This is a big question, a provocative question and intentionally so. The easier path is to keep your head low. So my challenge to myself and to you is how can we be more intentional… in our work, with the people we impact and in our lives more broadly…

What legacy trees are you planting?

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