The Monkey Thorn Tree

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

This Ghanaian wax print fabric is called “The Earth.” It means that we get treasure from the Earth.

11 thoughts on “The Monkey Thorn Tree

  1. I love the descriptive language in this post- what a vision I have in my mind. The ending particularly struck me- I love the change from tightly held until a tiny fist looses it’s grip. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your descriptions are just so vivid. I can’t quite get over it. But what I like best about this post is the way the sense of loss over the tree’s death overlaps with the way Kojo loses the seeds he grips so tightly.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Another beautiful way to capture your new home.
    “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’ …this part me smile and wonder about Kojo’s reaction when he realised he’d lost all the seeds.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amazing post! It’s so descriptive and ends on such a beautiful and contemplative note. I’m going to have to look up the monkey thorn tree. We have a handful of monkey puzzle trees where I live, but I don’t think they flower, so it must be a different kind. I was very excited to see the return of Kunga’s red chair. (“Everybody knows him.” Even your readers!) I feel like I am gradually getting to see a bit more of your world every day, with your descriptions so elegant and powerful that your slices are like miniature movies unfolding as March progresses.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You’ve shared your appreciation of nature so well.”this tree once stood tall, bathing under many rainy summer skies.” this phrase shares how old the tree must be. All the words teach or expose a part of the trees that make the slice so important. Kojo’s new find is another, loosing all those seeds- interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kunga and his red chair. Initially I thought … and the story continues. But deftly, you shared another slice – of the dying monkey thorn tree and Kojo carrying / letting go of the seeds.

    Do you think you will plant some seeds for a new Monkey Thorn Tree? Does it take years to grow a new one?

    Looking forward to next post.



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