THE TRAGIC loss of Phillip Hughes was there for all to see in Macksville this morning - from the small groups of old men chatting solemnly on street corners near East St to the poignant line of cricket bats outside a primary school.
At Donnelly-Welsh Playing Fields, where Phillip as a boy first showed his rare talent, a single bouquet clung to the practise nets. Out on the wicket, a single bat stood at each end, at rest, propped by the stumps.
At Phillip's old school, St Patrick's, a message board paid tribute to their most famous alma mater - while camera crews from beyond the Nambucca Valley grabbed footage.
Just down the road, a line of bats and caps stood sentinal outside Macksville Public.
The grief is tangible - though Phillip would be pleased to see a group of excited school children playing cricket with oversized yellow plastic bats and stumps at Macksville Adventist School, just across the road from Donnelly-Welsh Fields.
The Adventist School's motto coincidentally captured exactly why Phillip was and is regarded so highly in his hometown: "Nurture for today, learning for tomorrow, character for eternity".
Across the North Coast, players will this weekend observe a minute's silence and wear black arm bands as a mark of respect.
And in junior matches across the nation, Cricket Australia has requested that the traditional retirement score for a batsman of 50 will this weekend be 63 - the score Phillip was on when he was hit by a bouncer in the Sheffield Shield game on Tuesday.