Letter to a Dying Tree

Melbourne Urban Forest has a website that folk can write trees, the intended purpose is to talk about branches needing trimming and whatnot.

I wrote to a dying tree and it was beautiful.


March 12, 2016, to London Plane, Tree ID 1025146:

I am half-way around the world, it is just after midnight my time, and apparently near sunset your time. According to the site that I got your info, you may have less than a year to live, and I hope that this is the best year of your life. I hope the wind is a gentle kiss on your bountiful leaves, that the soil is soft enough for your roots to easily dig into, but firm enough to hold you tight. I hope the sunset is beautiful for you. I love you.

March 12, 2016, in response:

Thanks for your kind words Atticus. I have been living it up, knowing my days are numbered. At night when all of the people are sleeping, I sometimes sneak down to the river and dip my roots in. I wave my branches wildly in the wind, swaying like when I was a young sapling.Who knows, maybe I will live longer than they expect?!

May 4, 2017, I send a follow up:

Beloved London Plane, I hope you have beaten the odds and are able to yet read this. And if not, I hope the soil has welcomed you home and your memories are passed to the next generation of saplings. I have spoken of you to the trees in the park across my home, a park on the edge of one of the world’s biggest lakes. I am told, by the trees, by the wind, by the Things That Dwell In the Waters, that the lake links to the ocean eventually. We are so far apart and yet connected. I suppose in such ways, and in astral and ethereal and in nether ways, all things are connected. Where ever you are, know that you were a beautiful and kind and adored tree. Your memory will be preserved in the hearts and minds of the dryads and monsters and creatures. I love you, sweet tree. If you have you yet grow, may your sunshine be warm and crisp. If you have passed, sleep well.

I have not heard back (it is currently May 7th, 2017), so I am guessing Good Fair London Plane has left the mortal world to rest in nature.

June 12, 2017, I receive a reply. I hold onto it privately for a month to quietly enjoy, deciding to finally post it on July 10, 2017:

Hello Atticus, from across the seas.

Your message has reached me and although the humans say my days are numbered, there is life in me yet and I have not succumbed. Your words of kindness that buoyed my spirits and motivated me to stay a little longer.

I hope there are many trees where you are and that you are able to spend time among them.

Best wishes,
London Plane, Tree ID 1025146

Author’s note: I do not send a final note. We have said our goodbyes and I do not wish to burden the tree further. If I send another note, it may feel obliged to reply again and needs its peace. Good bye, my verdant friend, and good night.