Mayor Val Schier and the Burning Tree.

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Paul Bakker presents 'The Burning Tree' to Val Schier, mayor of the Cairns Regional Council. Photo by Clemens Vermeulen.
Last Monday, the 1st of September, I had the pleasure to deliver the painting 'The Burning Tree' to the Mayor of Cairns, The Hon Val Schier.

When I arrived in Cairns, now 9 months ago, everything was new and exiting; Kevin Rudd's new job in Canberra and Val Schier's new job in Cairns, tropical north Queensland.

And my new life in the tropics.

Appropriately, after nine months, I delivered the painting I had promised then.

We all seemed to be fine.

Our Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has made himself known to the world.

Our global Prime Minister. Fancy that, he even speaks Mandarin. He is even younger then the new French guy with the Romanian background. Younger than the British man whose face I cannot remember.

Is he younger than the next American President? I can remember his name but get it confused with the Saudi Arabian rich man hiding somewhere in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

I should be more serious. But I am not. When I was in North Carolina, visiting my 'step son', a very few years ago, I was driven through a lovely part of Ralleigh/Durrum and thought I could easily live there 'forever'. No you cannot, Hans explained, this is not for whites.......

So this last Monday Clemens drove me to the Town Hall and the painting will hang in a most honoured position opposite the Mayors desk. We took a photo. The painting is to me a painting of life. The tree is burning off its excess energy and growing on forever. An energy Val Schier has in common.

We were received by a lovely vibrant lady called Glenda. Actually, the whole office had a vibrant feeling.

Yes, I am in the land of the living.

The painting is now part of the permanent collection of the Cairns Regional Council.