Why Do Trees Die?

Ajibola Lawal
Aug 8 · 2 min read
Dead Neem Tree src:observerbd

Why Do Trees Die?

It’s been a question that’s been in my mind for couple of weeks now. I ask it again, every time I drive past this really majestic Neem Tree on my way to and from work. It is not a question I ask with a desire to know. It’s a question I just ask to feels its heft. Why Do Trees Die? I feel a deep sorrow every time I see that dead tree. The contrast is even heavier because right next to it, is another Neem Tree alive and vibrant. Grey against green. Jagged and angled death against verdant life.

This dead tree makes me think of my Grandfather. Tall Alhaji with the measured steps and mischief in his eyes. He had a coconut tree in front of his home, the only tree of its kind in that urban environment— it was the tallest too, for miles. My older brothers have stories that I vaguely remember about this tree. My only memory of it, is when it died. Suddenly, and without warning. Its fronds fell, and the trunk began to hollow out from the inside. Months later, the man who planted it passed away in his sleep, as well.

This dead tree makes me think of my dream home. It is a 20–30,000 hectare ranch just outside Abeokuta, with its trees and streams largely untouched. On that parcel, I will plant Oaks, Irokos and Olive trees. I know that more than anything, my grandchildren or their own children will be the ones to enjoy the shade of those trees (this is in the hope that they don’t become tree-felling bastards with no sense of history, of course). That said, I would like for my ashes to be spread at the base of all the trees I plant.

My home wouldn’t be about the trees alone though. There is a peace I feel around hills and vegetation, living as God intended. It would be about space and time, with all the things I want to watch growing. The joy of experiencing the cycle of life. I remember the joy every time I watch the bees flit from flower to flower in front my second home. It is always like the first time. I imagine the joy of having a stream coursing through the property, to sometimes bath by myself to the sound of the Forest (The real forest bathing is just as amazing).

It would be in the gift of having a place to camp under the stars and roam free and name this tree or that, to run in the mornings with my pack of 6 retired racing Grey Hounds.

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