DAY 263

DAY 263
TREE 188

What a windy day. 

The rain came in the evening before and washed the warm weather away.  I layered up and had a winter hat and hood on my head.  The wind whipped along in strong gusts freezing my chin.  I had recently noticed a field behind the houses across the street of my parents’ house.  Knowing that fields are perfect places for climbable trees I was drawn in that direction, but in a round about way.  I did not want to just cut through someone’s yard as I might have as a kid.  I remember cutting through whole neighborhoods by way of countless private properties.  But as kids it’s somehow forgivable.  As an adult, I do not want to cause alarm or suspicion.  So I walked to Cedar Point, turned left, and headed down the road just a bit to the neighborhood on the left.  Many great trees stood in people’s front lawns and I daydreamed of knocking on a front door and asking them to climb their tree.  Only that daydream turned quickly to a daymare as my thoughts went to legal documents, falling, and death.  I wasn’t going to ask anyway so I kept walking trying to go fast so as to warm up.  At one turn in the road I came to a sudden dead end.  I paused and stared into the field I had seen before from the other side.  Two evergreens stood next to each other in the center with some sycamores off to the left. 

A swath of woods also lined the middle section of the left side.  None of these trees grabbed my attention and I wondered who owned this land.  I turned and walked on further down the neighborhood street.  I took every turn and considered every tree but all were obviously in a yard.  I decided to walk back to the field.  The wind practically pushed me there.  I paused once again before stepping on to the grass as if entering another realm.  I headed towards the evergreens and walked carefully between them on the soggy turf.  Just off to the right, previously hidden by the two evergreens was a lovely poplar,

not huge but with perfect limbs for climbing. 

That was it.  My pace quickened and as I approached I studied possible entries.  I looked all around me before attempting to climb the trunk.  No sign of land owners, no barking dogs, go for it, I thought.  But the trunk shimmying failed.  I was hesitant to climb up an overhanging limb.  If it broke while someone watched, they’d be pissed.  But what other options did I have?  I was not going to look for another tree.  This was it.  I gave the limb a good tug, lifted myself up, no crack.  So up I went, hand over hand to the trunk, then hooked my foot and was up. 

The climb to the top was standard and no tricky spots. 

The wind was blowing very hard.  I had to be careful in freeing both hands to tie my ribbon and take pictures since the gusts swayed and moved me about.  I got a good shot of my shadow in the shadow  of the tree. 

I also tried to take some video of my swaying movement. 


It never seems to come out well in the video.  The experience is so much more intense with a peripheral view of the surroundings and it engages more of the senses. 

I put my camera away just wanting to experience the ride.  A huge series of wind gusts came just as I zipped my pocket.  I quickly held tight to the limbs and enjoyed the ride.  Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to take pictures, but to just climb with no pressure from my daily project.  But then again, I am so thankful for it.  Nothing else has given me a daily boost of energy, a raise in spirits, and a great rush.  I climbed down content once again. 

12-29-08:  First, I do miss that innocence provided from youth.  When you are 10 and running through people’s yards they don’t think twice.  But when you’re 27, it becomes much more sketchy.

And second, I am looking forward to the time when I can climb a tree without a care, no need to take pictures, no pressure to blog about it.  But then again, this project may be hard to kill.  We’ll see. 

Being behind on blogging, once again, I am going to tell you about my climb from last Monday, a week ago, the 22nd of December.  Amanda and Ty invited Drew, Rachel and I over for fish taco night.  We went over there, mingled with some friends and family of theirs, ate some amazing fish tacos, then I headed out to find a tree to climb before we played games.  Amanda was telling me about some amazing willow tree across the street.  I went and checked it out and of course it was in someone’s fenced in yard.  So I went down the street two blocks to Highland Middle School.  As I walked into the fence line and across the field towards the building I had a few trees to choose from.  But there was one tree, right in front of the building that caught my eye. 

It is a huge, sprawling maple (I believe).  As I got closer to it the size became increasingly impressive.  The trunk was easily three feet in diameter and the first branches bigger around than me.  Those first branches were also a little farther from the ground than I had first thought.  Getting in was not going to be as easy as I was expecting.  I chose my limb and readied myself for the jump and squeeze.  I had to inch up this massive branch hanging almost upside down and then hook my leg over and right myself.  It took some work, but I made it and was in the beast.  I was not sure how high I would make it, but as always I try for the top.  I rotated around the trunk from large limb to large limb, then when the trunk split I chose my leader branch. 

I took that up for a few branches before transferring to another leader limb and following that to it’s end. 

I had made it to the top after quite an effort of pulling myself up branch after branch. 

I was finally warm enough to fight off the cold night without getting the chills.  I took out my camera and began to shoot pictures of the view below,

the school buildings,

surrounding neighborhood

and distant skyline. 

Then I heard something below on the ground.  I looked down and there was a doberman. 

I hoped to god this thing wasn’t the school’s guard dog.  That would be ridiculous, so I figured it was just a neighborhood dog whose territory included the middle school.  It seemed to be going from tree to tree sniffing and marking.  It didn’t seem to linger at the base of my tree.  It must not have noticed me, smelled me, or cared about my presence.  I finished taking my pictures, then I started to climb down.  As I went I checked for the dog.  It seemed to have moved on to otherareas.  I was almost to the bottom when I saw the dog again.  Strangely, as low as I was and not trying to be quiet, the dog still didn’t seem to notice me.  I waited for the dog to run off out of sight.  Then I dropped to the ground and walked quickly away across the grass field and out the fence line.  I escaped the big dog and was able to climb to the top of a massive tree.  I’d say that’s a pretty good night. 

I went back to Amanda and Ty’s place just in time for the pinata and a rousing game of Celebrity.  If you are curious, ask me about the game, it was fun.