The statement made by this clump of large jackal-berry trees near the Crocodile River lingers in the mind. Quietly comfortable in the magnificence of their stately presence, they will add significance to any treaty signed in their shade.
Thomas Pakenham wrote in his book, Meetings with Remarkable Trees (2003): “To visit these trees, to step beneath their domes and vaults, is to pay homage at a mysterious shrine” (p. 10). He makes the point that although he picked his sixty most remarkable trees, anybody can make a worthy list of lifetime tree sightings consisting of different specimens.
Associating a spiritual sense or awareness with proximity to a temple-like tree is reflected in the old English habit of calling their old oak trees, the largest ones of the countryside, Druid oaks. Under such trees the Druids are thought to have gathered over a thousand years ago for their religious and other leadership tasks. The word Druid according to some is derived from the old Celtic dru-wid meaning knower of oak trees; dru meaning tree, especially oak and wid meaning to know.
Other trees, like yews, may also have been elevated to the category of holy trees in Western Europe. A yew of possibly 1400 years in age died in a churchyard at Selborne in Hampshire, England when a great wind blew it down in 1990. The stump was replanted, the vicar and parishioners prayed for its revival but to no avail (Pakenham, 2003).
The biggest Diospyros mespiliformis in this Mjejane group is nowhere near that age. May it last to witness the events of many more years before its big wind arrives.