Written by Rik Palieri, GITC Burlington, VT
My song Plant a Tree, was originally written for my wife, Marianna’s Mom when she turned 80 and had a tree planting . After the tree was planted, she said that back in Germany that they would plant trees for many milestones in ones life, from birth to death. Then she said “As my family and friends are gathered around me today , I want to declare my wishes, When my time comes, I want you to take this tired old body and cremate it , then throw my ashes around this tree that we just planted , and perhaps in this way , I will be able to keep on growing with you .
A few weeks later , when I was sailing on the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater , the idea for this song came to life. It was not long after I wrote it, that I realized that this song had a life of it’s own. I started getting requests for the words not only to sing the song, but also to read the words at memorial services.
I found out that many of the schools that I played at in England also wanted to sing it. I was told that after the tsunami disaster , one of the schools that learned my song, sang it on the BBC as they planted a memorial garden to remember all the children who lost their lives . The next year the students took me to see the garden they planted as they sang the song back to me.
Everywhere I went it seemed that someone had a Tree planting story to share. Some of the most moving stories came from my Jewish friends , who told me about how the children in Israel would collect money just to plant trees to make the desert bloom ! I also learned of a special forest of trees that have planted to remember those brave souls who saved Jews during the holocaust .
As I traveled around the world I could see more and more tree plantings . Many times it is after a tragic moment when many innocent lives are lost .
It is for all those people, who I have written the last verse;
“As we walk through natures chain,
there’s many things we can’t explain,
So if I die before my time,
remember me ,
for all human kind .
Plant a tree, Plant a tree,
Plant a Tree and think of me
I’ll be standing by your side,
and we’ll keep reaching for the sky .”