The Tree of Ténéré

by cheri

The last acacia tree still standing bravely against the harsh Nigerien sun and the raging and thirsty winds of the Sahara Desert fell in 1973, the arborial victim to a drunk driver.

Tree of Tenere ChapterFound on WikipediaIt’s hard to believe that with no other trees within 120 miles and only the dunes to contend with, a human could run into her lovely branches and take her down permanently. But then, she was an object in an objectless space.

Known in English as the Tree of Ténéré, she stood as a solitary reminder of strength and individuality.

To travelers headed across the desert in camel caravans, the tree may have symbolized the life they sought at the crossing’s end.

To the modern eye, the tree may represent the fearless stance we hope to take when the vagaries of life enter unannounced and force us to evaluate who we are and what we believe.

To me, the Tree of Ténéré represents innocence. I choose to believe she is still standing out there far away, untouched by messy hands and the impurity of the human condition.

You will, undoubtedly, have your own interpretation.




About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Education, Life and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to The Tree of Ténéré

  1. Richard says:

    It is fitting you should see The Tree of Innocence and that you should assign to her the feminine gender. I am more familiar with The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

    The hapless driver reminds me of the occasion I aimed for the bridge and ended up in the river. (Don’t tell anyone.)

  2. shoreacres says:

    I read the linked story. It’s completely fascinating. As for the fellow who took out the tree? Who knows? Maybe he thought it was a beautiful woman, and he meant to head straight for it!

    • Ladybugg says:

      Hello, Shoreacres,
      It is completely fascinating. In a number of ways, don’t you think?
      All the links say “allegedly” a drunk driver, so there is hope that the dear old girl fell on her own accord. That’s what I am hoping for.

      Nevertheless, a solitary tree standing in the middle of the desert calls for deep interpretation.

  3. Christopher says:

    The obvious interpretation for The Tree of Ténéré is that it represented individuality, not to say eccentricity, in a desert of conformity.

    Since conformity is essential for getting along, whoever knocked down this tree did the right thing.

    • Ladybugg says:

      Oh, dear, Christopher. Are you joshing me? You know how literal, and at times, innocent, my writing has been. You don’t really mean this statement, do you?

  4. Cyberquill says:

    Drunk? She was probably texting to boot. Or whatever the precursor of texting may have been in 1973, like chiseling messages into slabs of Nigerian granite.

  5. Ladybugg says:

    She? Who said She? The drunk driver was a man, I am sure of it.

  6. Cyberquill says:

    It was a she. And blonde. The nature of the accident compels this conclusion.

  7. Christopher says:

    You spoke of “…..the harsh Nigerian sun……”

    If you were speaking of the sun shining down on the place where The Tree of Ténéré used to be, you should have said, “……the harsh Nigerien sun…….”, for the people and things of Niger are Nigerien, not Nigerian.

  8. Fascinating story! Perhaps if we don’t have any more rain, my lovely orange tree will remain as The Tree of Rasmussen. I’d rather it would be one of the figs.

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