Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Ashes and Trees

A couple of weeks ago I got a very strange request. I was asked if a tree could be planted on our farm with the ashes of a dead man named Deane Adams.

The woman who asked me was Arlene. She had come to Aguabuena as a prize "vacation" from a Starbucks raffle. The group of winners, sponsored by Starbucks and Earthwatch, came to aid Dr Karen Holl´s reforestation study in our region of Coto Brus. Arlene along with two other women, Jessie and Samantha, were staying at the Mendez house just up the hill from our farm. I spent alot of evenings with them. And one day, Arlene asked if she could find a resting place for Deane´s ashes on the finca.

Arlene had traveled all the way from Arkansas carrying Deane´s ashes. Arlene never knew Deane. She was asked by his wife, a new co-worker, if she would carry some ashes down to Costa Rica and plant a tree with them. Deane´s dying wish was for part of his ashes to be planted every year with a tree. Since Arlene was going to aid a reforestation project, it seemed to make sense. At first I was worried that Deane might not be a good guy. I dont want the ashes of a bad guy haunting the farm, but then I realized anyone who asks to be planted with a tree when they die cant be too bad. When I die I want to be burried in the ground without a coffin, just a pillow, and a tree planted on top of me. Probably an avocado.

We procrastinated until the last day they were in Aguabuena. Right before the bus came the 4 of us - Arlene, Samantha, Jessie, and I hurried to the finca to plant the tree. Arlene asked Karen Holl if she would donate a tree to Deane and the Finca Project. The tree we planted is a Mayo.

Mayo, Vochysia guatemalensis is a light hardwood canopy tree found throughtout Central America especially here, in the Coto Brus area. This tree produces very beautiful yellow flowers between April and June.

So far the ashes seemed to have made good fertilizer and the tree is growing strong.

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