After spending all afternoon and early evening with Norman and a very nice couple from his current beginners pottery class, I had to climb. We had gone to Dinner Works at the Water Tower then to Tumbleweed for drinks and Tran Japanese Steakhouse for sushi. It was a really nice day, warm, sunny and the company was excellent. But each time that I would discuss my art and my tree climbing I just kept wondering when I was going to get to it and where. I dropped Norman off at his truck at the Water Tower. It was dark and my mind was made up. My location and time of day was perfect for reclimbing the big beech tree on the edge of the Masonic Homes property. I parked on a small street across Frankfort Avenue and walked along the railroad tracks to the tree. The long limbs hung well over the chain link fence and I thought, maybe, that I could climb up and in using one of them. But I couldn’t reach any. The lowest ones had been cut back so I waited for a break in traffic and hopped the fence. I worried about being spotted because of the security at this place. I had to be stealthy. I stuck to the shadows and froze when I saw approaching cars. I climbed up into the tree at the trunk and climbed around looking for my ribbon. I was having a little trouble finding it. I think I actually followed the exact same path as I had the first climb. I went in the tree towards the homes and determined I couldn’t get very high so I climbed to the limbs over the fence line. I picked one large limb and went out and there I found my ribbon.
I took a bunch of pictures
then looked up for a possible higher path.
I found something… maybe… but I went down another lower branch and out. Then I thought, why not try? What else am I doing tonight? It’s nice out, I’ve got time and if I succeed I know I’ll be happier about the experience. So I just went for it.
I followed this one leader branch using its few sparse limbs to get up to its top. It was scary. I was using methods of climbing that made me sweat with fear. But I kept pushing it. I knew I could get to the top. These methods are easier lower down, it’s just the mental factor of being so incredibly high up and dangling or balancing on skinny limbs that make them terrifying. And I made it.
I took more pictures
and took in the stars of the night sky. I just wished a train would come by.
I paused to regain composure and strength and then began to climb down comfortedby the thought that down is easier.
But it was still tricky and scary. A few branches down I heard a train come. I paused and quickly pulled out my camera.
I snapped what I could and then very satisfied, I climbed the rest of the way down. I took a leaf and chose to take that one limb over the fence and then jumped to the ground. What a great climb! So many different parts of the tree to explore and such a great improvement in height. I am very very satisfied. Great experience.
2-3-09: The couple from that day was Dave and Melissa. I have talked about them before. They are the couple that I bartended for at their Christmas party. I have also worked for him installing high end cabinets. Dinner Works is up now but I don’t think there is power down at the Water Tower. If it is back on, I recommend going. There usually have some pretty awesome pottery.
Last Sunday, February 1st, was Super Bowl 43. It was also Will’s birthday. He had texted about playing pool. I replied and said I’d contact him after the game. I also figured that when I went I would climb my tree on the way. Well, the game was good even though Drew, Robert, Cheyne, and I all routed for the Cardinals and they ended up losing. It was a good, close game and we had fun. Then, we were watching The Office after the game and I just needed to get out to climb and I hadn’t heard from Will. Luckily the last few days had melted most of the ice from the trees so I had more options. I went out the front of our house and went towards the Swift meat packing plant on Cabel Street.
I spotted a tree by the side walk that had a nice thick trunk but was too tall.
It was odd looking and I was drawn to. At the base of the trunk I could tell the numerous limbs were strong and would make for a good climb. I guess any trees that still have branches have strong ones if they survived the ice. I jumped and stuck to the trunk for one easy shimmy move before grabbing the first branch. Then I continued up into the branches and when up towards the top.
I could tell that this tree had been slightly affected by the ice once I was up there. The smaller, thinner limbs were broken or completely snapped off. It seems to be the case for most trees that the very top suffered the most. I took my camera out and snapped shots of the surrounding buildings
and distant views.
The area was dead and I guess most people were inside staying warm and going to bed.