Words from Kenya

Upside Down Trees

Upside Down Tree

In parts of northern Kenya you can encounter the curious sight of many upside down trees. They dot the landscape, as many of them upside down as right way up in places.

Some areas of northern Kenya have been so dry for so long that there is little but dust to hold the roots of the trees in place. A strong wind pushes at the bare branches and worries away the dry soil round the base of the tree. Sometimes it takes just hours, sometimes weeks or months, but once loosened the result is nearly always the same. An upside down tree. The wind blows the tree over, the roots slip free of the dry sandy soil, then the wind flips it over like a tumble weed. Once upside down a better balance is achieved with wide branches providing stability and sparse roots offering little resistance to the wind. The tree remains upside down.

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