TREE 33 & 34
After a late night last night and sleeping in this morning I put off climbing till after working for the Garners. But after all the manual labor there, Leigh Ann called to hang out, so I went for some food with her and then we drew designs on new white undershirts for me. Luckily she goes to bed early ’cause I had to get back to climb.
I didn’t get back to MACA till 10:30 pm or so and I prepared myself for a night climb. Luckily the trees were just on the edge of the field beyond the koi pond. I remember them well and identified them in the dark. I got up into the very small tree, up a few steps till I could reach the first branch of the big tree. I really couldn’t see much but a black silhouette of a branch against the charcoal of beyond. As I went up I let go of depending on my sight to navigate and judge branches. I did a lot of limb grabbing and shaking and kicking. As I got further up my ability to tell a good branch increased. Like Norman taught me to flick a fired pot to hear the ring of a good pot, I would slap a branch hoping to hear high vibration or none at all. It’s the dead ones that really shake. So without a problem I made it up to my second blue ribbon. With a street light in the distance I took some long exposure pictures, some with flash, and just enjoyed my little spot at the top of the tree. I was very comfortable and could not tell at all how high I was. I grabbed a leaf and started to head down. I ventured on the other side of the trunk to find a different path down using my feet to test the branches. But my eyes had adjusted a little better than the climb up and I used sight to locate limbs as I went down. Like that one tree in Cherokee Park where I didn’t use my left leg for a while, it was fun and educational to climb without light. Very enjoyable.
8-2-08: A lot of you probably know what t-shirts I was talking about from this entry. I have one with a little tree and a man in it. And one with Ralph Wiggum. Oh, and another with two dancing cicadas under a mirror ball. That one recently got a hole in it.
I like the comparison I made to listening to the sound of a dead limb vs a live one and that of flicking a pot. The differences are so clear for both. A good pot with no cracks has a nice tone, a sustaining ring. It is similar to the sound of a ping pong ball when it has a crack. If you don’t know any of these three examples you should definitely go out and try it. Probably the easiest is with a tree. Find one with a dead branch, they are pretty easy to spot now since they have no leaves, and sometimes no bark. Just give it a good whack and see how it reacts… listen to the sound. Then hit a live one near to it. Then you might understand that climbing in the dark and using hearing instead of sight it a very plausible thing to do.
I felt the urge again yesterday to utilize my time downtown and climb another tree in the midst of the buildings and bridges. I few months ago on one of our first parkour meet-ups we ventured over in front of the Presbyterian Church USA building. I remember playing on one of the tree out front.
I went back to it, around rush hour again, and waited for most of the pedestrians and cars to be out of sight. Then I hopped in and climbed quickly to the top. This maple tree had lost a major low limb and it left a large scar and a wide open hole above.
Luckily it didn’t make the climb too difficult. I still had 2 other major leader branches to climb up. But as I neared the top I realized I was in plain sight of anyone passing by due to that large hole. I could see people and cars so I knew they could see me. I was hoping no one would look up.
I got to my high point in the tree and was happy to see that this same hole made it easy for me to get some good shots of the 2nd St. Bridge and other surrounding buildings.
In the other direction I had to peek through the leaves to get the shots of other downtown Louisville land marks.
Then, satisfied, I began to climb down. When I was almost to the bottom I saw a guy in a black shirt walking up to the tree. I could tell right away it was the building security. He started to talk to me before I was down and I just waited to say anything so I could concentrate on the climbing. When I dropped I said hello, and he, obviously wanted to know what I was doing. I went right into it and explained that I was taking pictures for a blog about climbing trees. I apologized for causing any concern and then he nicely volunteered some information to me. He said if I wanted to take any more shots I would just need to ask Property Services first. I was immediately shocked this guy was so nice. We just a talked a little and I couldn’t tell if he was a little interested in getting my blog address or just wanted my info for security reasons but I followed him into the building to exchange info. He gave me the Presbyterian Church USA number and I gave him my blog address. A bike cop rolled in soon after and asked what the deal was. I guess since they had no idea what kind of person they were dealing with, they called for backup. He explained about the public trees and liability. I told him I wasn’t going to climb here anymore. At leas the first security guy was nice. And I hope you get to read this. Thanks for understanding… most security guys I encounter are jerks. They treat me like a jerk and never seem at interested in what I was doing. So I appreciate that.