300 days in a row! It feels like a milestone in theory, but felt like any other day. After work I drove to Indiana to climb the sycamore by Taco Bell off Route 150.
It was rush hour so I decided to leave my all brown uniform on to help keep me as invisible as possible.
After I got my camera firmly tied to my hoodie pouch I got out of my truck and began to walk towards the tree. The mud was incredibly slick and thick. My feel were sinking down two inches. This cleared area had little to no vegetation to bind the soil together. The mud is almost yellow and has little water streams trickling through it. I got close to the wire fence that runs along the road. Some weeds grow there and made it easier to walk. I crossed over the fence where it had been bent over and I quickly stepped to the base of the tree. The sky was very grey and everything was all wet. But luckily I had a break in the rain. I began my climb doing my best to avoid the many dead lower limbs. By halfway I would grab a limb, jump, and pull up to get a foothold. Some spots were a little tricky but mostly I was concerned about being spotted. Yet at the same time I guess I do want passers by to see me.
I imagine most of them commenting on that crazy guy in a tree in this weather, or at least be surprised by how high up in the tree I am. I got to the top and took down my ribbon
then I pulled out my camera.
I took pictures of the field below, Taco Bell, Route 150,
and Highlander Point.
This light is one of my favorites. Grey, wet days really bring out all the colors; deep, rich color. The lights of cars and businesses stick out and contrast is low. Then when I was finished I started to climb back down. I did my best to avoid putting my hands in all the mud my boots had brought up. Shortly I was on the ground and returning across all the muck. A Taco Bell employee was outside looking in my direction. I got a little nervous bu realized she was just on her cell phone. I kicked off the mud and got in my truck. Up, down, and gone. I kinda wish the big 300th tree would have been a little more relaxing and isolated, but what the hell, it is just another day with more than two months to go.
1-29-09: DAY 300 of last year means that today will be 665. That means tomorrow will be 666 days in a row. I realize that the trees outside are covered in ice. So I will be careful to not let them seduce me to evil.
Yesterday morning, early early morning, I kept awaking to the sounds of snapping and falling limbs. In my sleepy stupor I would awake violently and think my life was soon ending in a crushing collapse of the roof over my head. I sleep at the very front of the house on the first floor right next to the window. My windows are single paned and have huge gaps that I have done my best to fill with weather stripping. Needless to say, I could hear every snap and falling icicle sound. Around 2:20am I heard the loudest boom in my life. I thought we were at war. Plus the occasional blue flash in the sky. I didn’t sleep well and when I finally noticed that our power had gone out I got up. My first thought: Damn! I didn’t charge my camera battery last night so I have no power to shoot my climb today! Then I started to think about no heat, no power to blog, freezing pipes, etc. I called LG&E to report the outage then went back to sleep.
Later that morning Drew awoke to find no power and called me on his cell from upstairs to let me know. I informed him of my night and then we proceeded to get up and get colder and colder as our house dropped from 55 to 39. After the latest snow flurry stopped we cleaned his Jetta off and pushed and spun our way out of the parking spot behind the house, down the alley, and up the side road to the slushy, but passable roads. We drove down to Drew’s office on 10th and Main.
The small tree out in front of the building was drooping and just covered in ice.
Wewent upstairs in the warmth and got on our computers. I charged my camera battery and when it was complete I was ready. I took a few shots from the second story window,
then put my coat back on ready to brave the icy branches. Drew joined me outside as I shot picture after picture of the tree from the ground.
The ice was just so amazing and beautiful. Then I finally decided to attempt the climb.
At the base of the very small and short trunk I positioned my arms in many ways to get the proper grip to lift my legs to the first foothold.
After a few minutes, I found one that would work and was in. Still bare handed, I tried my best to hold with my elbows with a hooked arms.
I climbed up only one more branch before I knew I was out of options.
The limbs were pushed to their max with icy weight and I did not want to make it worse.
I took many more images of the close details
and of what distant images I could see out from the icy web of limbs.
The more I looked around the more crazy things I saw. The icicles on the drooping power lines dipping into the tree,
the icy facade of Drew’s building, and the split limbs still hanging in the tree stuck by the ice.
I finally finished shooting and took the two careful steps back to the crunchy snow. I took many more from within the arching limb canopy
then decided it was time to go inside. Not nearly the best or most challenging climbs, but one of the most visually interesting and exciting.