We pass many trees on our walks. The sprightly lemon tree stands proudly on the corner just behind Kunga’s red chair. The overly manicured, mushroom trees line the wall of the mud-colored house down the street. Banana trees huddle together in front of an empty wooden chicken coup. A lone papaya tree looks out above the barbed wire fence like a nosy neighbor. We greet each one as we pass.
Right across from the house without a number, lays the fallen Monkey Thorn Tree. Described as fast growing and long living by those who know these things, this tree can survive extreme heat and is recommended for wide avenues because of the shade it provides.
Here it is leafless and lifeless with its branches collecting the plastic bags and water sachets the evening wind delivers. Although its broken body takes up much of the small road, no one has claimed it and no one has cleared it to make space for something new.
We get close to listen to the remaining woody pods hanging delicately filled with dried up seeds. Adorned with flowers, this tree once stood tall, bathing under many rainy summer skies.
We gently pick off a dried up pod for each of us. We twirl them and shake them and hold them up to the darkening sky. Then, we find the seam, open them up carefully and release the seeds. Kojo loves to collect them and keep them all in his hand. Tightly he holds on but each time he opens a little to see if they are still there, he loses a few more.
The street lights turn on slowly. The moon is out already. We begin our walk back. When we finally make it to our front gate, his tiny fist has loosened its grip completely and no more seeds are to be found