The man who has never seen a tree

“The large baobab tree has fallen, but its roots will nourish the soil forever.”

– ANC about the passing of Nelson Mandela.

I found this beautiful photo of a baobab tree in my dad’s photo files from my parent’s trip to Tanzania in 2008 (he had set a goal of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for his 60th birthday).

Baobab trees are one of my favorite trees: casual and fierce, whimsical and grounded. When I visited the village of Point Hope in October, I met a 28-year-old man who had never before seen a tree. There are no trees near Point Hope other than willows (and those don’t really count, he told me) and he had never travelled any further south or anywhere there wasn’t rolling tundra and wide open ocean.┬áHe said someday, he would like to see a tree.

And now, while the world is remembering Nelson Mandela and mourning the loss of a man who became a symbol of hope and change, it seems appropriate to dedicate this baobab tree to his memory… and to the wish of seeing a tree!

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