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.
It’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.