DAY 302

DAY 302
TREE 140

All this storm damage and so much work to do.  My boss just expects everyone to work over time.  I really have no reason not to so I was happy to have a reason today.  I am picking Rachel up from the airport.  Well, I did that around 6pm but I told my crew I had to be clocked out by 4:30, no later.  I needed time to climb before I picked her up.  So as much as Jake joked around about working late I clocked out at 4:30.  I drove straight to UofL in some pretty awful traffic.  And when I got to 3rd Street there was no parking.  I took it as a sign and just drove to the airport.  I decided that I would just climb later at Ballard High School since Rachel and I were headed to Drew’s parents’ place for the season premiere of Lost.

When Rachel asked me to pick her up last month I reacted strangely and wondered whether I should.  But by today I was kind of excited to see her.  She is now a good friend and we still get along.  Anyway, I surprised her inside and then we headed to Whole Foods for something to eat.  After that we parked at the tennis courts at Ballard and though cold, she joined me for the climb.

Rachel stood and watched as I jumped for the lowest spindly limb.  It began to crack so I quickly wrapped my legs around the trunk.  I gripped the next limb and inched higher for the next branch.  As I got more into the climb Rachel became increasingly more cold.  I was enjoying this climb and its difficulty and looked down into the darkness every once in a while to see what she was doing.  At one point I lost sight of her and yelled out.  She responded from the small tree next to mine.  It is nice to have company willing to participate.  She said she was doing it to try to stay warm.  As for me I was quite comfortable.  As I continued higher past the trunk split and the rubbing limb from the nearby tree, I kept looking up to my waiting ribbon.  It seemed so high.  Finally I made it and it was high. 

I was the same height as the Sandy Allen Fine Arts Building. 

I took my ribbon

and shot many pictures. 

Rachel had since left her tree and was attempting to throw a fallen limb like a javelin.  But to no success.  I kept her updated with my activities so as to keep her from wondering why I was taking so long.  The long exposure shots were very hit and miss. 

Then I began to climb down.  I slid down the last of the trunk and then Rachel and I made our way to the truck. 

The climb was awesome, a real accomplishment that I was more than happy to experience again.  And it was nice to have company, albeit somewhat awkward.  Nice, but I feel the recent past is an ever present topic always unspoken. 

2-2-09:  Another entry with sharing… a lot of sharing.  Not sure I have much to say about this one. 

Last Friday, January 30th, I went to Norm’s to help him dig his truck out.  Then we hung out a while at his sisters before I left to go home.  On my way I decided to stop at the Mount.  I parked in the lot and walked down to the clay studio.  I met the new clay coordinator and then went on my way with a plan to see if there is much damage in the sanctuary.  As I approached the lake I saw a tree had fallen on the lake by the shelter. 

My body!  I totally forgot that one of the original human cicada shells are still installed down by the lake.  I walked hurriedly over and saw that it was still hugging a standing tree. 

It was the tree just next to it that fell.  This body made only of tape and not of fiberglass and resin is amazingly still holding on. 

It was covered in ice but wasn’t disfigured. 

I was quite proud of the thing.  Then I decided to start down the trail around the lake.  Many trees and branches were in the way making me duck and crawl my way though.  Most of the trees that I had climbed in the past seemed to fair very well.  That holds true for trees all over the Louisville area.  As I have been traveling around looking for them I find them to be much less affected than the majority of the trees.  That must mean I am pretty good at picking strong and healthy trees.  A good sign.

Anyway, as I walked around the lake I looked carefully for any trees that I might be able to climb.  Still encased in ice, most seemed impossible.  I took some pictures of some of the incredible sights from the hike.  Like this one of an entire tree split but still hanging. 

I did find my tree I posted about recently, the large beech tree trunk that had fallen and was leaning against another.  It was the one I had climbed on my last day at the Mary Anderson Center.  Well when I found it, this is what I saw. 

Besides how beautiful I thought the lighting was in these pictures, it was quite sad.  Apparently after the Ike storm the Mount hired a tree service to come out and clean up the fallen trees.  It’s too bad they got rid of this one. 

I made my way to the berm of the lake and crossed the spill way. 

It was there that I spotted a tree that called to me. 

Just on the edge of the lake, it had a good amount of low limbs. 

It also had a small tree next to it that I could use to help me get up.  I very carefully, and with much trouble, climbed up about 4 branches

hooking my arms around limbs rather than using my hands. 

I paused there and took what pictures I could before the cold got to my camera battery and drained its power. 

Then I slid my way back down.  At this point the strong low sun was breaking through the clouds making the frozen high grasses of the field sparkle. 

It was an awesome sight. 

Then I heard knocking, turned around, and there was a woodpecker. 

It just reaffirmed to me how magical this place can be.  I had just finished a long hike viewing some great destruction, yet it was all so beautiful. 

I was really lucky that my camera battery warmed up enough in my pocket to take those last few pictures.  

3 Replies to “DAY 302”

  1. ice

    todd, i’m going to admit to a minor obsession with ice-encrusting. the winter, in general, is pretty awesome, (for sheer awesomeness of nature, not for ease of travel or being outside) but when ice encases trees, pine needles, sour cherries, leaves, etc etc – well, i’m into it.

    the second to last picture you’ve got up, right before the woodpecker — it’s stunning.


  2. Re: ice

    Yeah, I am with you on that. I wish I could have gotten more pictures of all the buds and twig ends that were encased in balls of ice. It was an incredible sight.

    And thanks, the sun came out from behind the cloud and the hole frozen field just lit up.

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