Like an icon in the landscape this dead tree points to a truth beyond itself. As reminder, warning and memorial it stands out and demands attention. The tree refuses to be ignored and shares insistently the ultimate fact of every life; our mortality. The shape of its dying reaches up into the sky as certainly as the wild lightning which once and finally reached down and claimed it.
Wild places have their own particular sets of risks and threats. Wilderness brings questions of life, death and the meaning and value of one's living to the fore. These ultimate questions come down to a very practical decision: what am I to make of this gift of life? Day in and day out, all of our choices can be set against this question. Small wonder then that Jesus emerged energised and focused on his life's task, eyes wide open to death in the landscape.