Our author's father is buried under a beech tree. He struggled with the place for a long time until he visited and realized what he liked about it.

Old beech trees with thick trunks

Old beech trees need long arms Photo: Zoonar/imago

My father is as tall and strong as a tree when he is alive. The good thing about him is that he protects us from rain and storms with his outstretched branches, not so well as to tolerate our growth only to the extent that he does not exceed his own. Where for others the sky is the limit, for us it is the treetops. We must remain under his protection or risk being expelled from his forest.

And yet, my father is someone to lean on. For my mother and our four children, for her friends and clients, regardless of whether they are chocolate factory owners or sex workers. We all benefit from your big heart and willingness to help. But at some point he develops pulmonary fibrosis and his system collapses. He soon becomes so weak that sometimes he simply falls down. But I can't tell my mother, he says, she shouldn't worry. But of course we are very concerned. It is a tragedy when a tree dies and nothing can be done for it.

My father is dying. Countless trees are dying right now. They die of thirst or are shot down. In doing so, they clean our air and produce oxygen, which is essential for survival. Arbor Day, which launched in the United States many years ago, is also intended to commemorate this. Since then, people around the world have been planting trees in April.

My father also planted a tree in our garden, a Japanese cherry tree, which sadly died when I was a teenager.

Gentle hills, lovely streams

He cared deeply about environmental issues and was terrified of cemeteries. That's why it was clear that he would never be under a normal tombstone. But when my mother told us after her death that our father should be buried in the so-called quiet forest, I was not thrilled at first. How am I supposed to get there without a car? But the decision has already been made a long time ago.

This text comes from Laborable day. Our left-wing weekly! Every week, wochentaz is about the world as it is and as it could be. A left-wing weekly with a voice, attitude and a special vision of the world. New every Saturday on newsstands and of course by subscription.

During a walk through the Ruheforst we found what we were looking for on a small hill. There grows a majestic beech tree, which at this time of year is as bare as my late father's head. There are two smaller trees very close to it, almost leaning against it for protection. The image looks somewhat familiar, I think. But then I was still too shocked to recognize the beauty of this forest, its gentle hills, the lovely streams between the trees, the forest anemones.

Nothing attracts me, I don't like the tree or the place. But at some point I receive some photos of my family having a picnic under the tree and the children gluing colored plasticine on its trunk. My three-year-old niece Charlotte now always talks about Grandpa Baum, my mother says on the phone.

An energy comes and goes

A Saturday at the end of March. My mother and I stopped in the parking lot right next to the field of wild garlic. It's been two years since I was last here and I immediately notice that something has changed. How comforting I suddenly find the forest. Its silence and its smell of spring. The drizzle that falls gently on my face and that the sun dries a little later. Birds singing, nature slowly blooming. This time I am overwhelmed by the splendor of the numerous forest anemones.

So we are there. The tree is as big and bare as I remember. I take a small step towards him and touch his bark. And then something happens that I never thought possible.

I feel something in my palm. It's a kind of energy that comes and goes between the tree and me. I feel like a part of my father is in this tree and I can communicate with him. Not with words, but on a level that escapes our language.

I jerk up and wrap my arms around the trunk. I can't help it, like I never could avoid my father. I rest my cheek against his rough skin. I cry. I miss you, I send you through the bark. I love you, Dad Baum.