November 2nd 2009 – In this week you will see I am starting to get into the preparation for my show. This activity was the main reason I put off climbing till late at night. I was feeling pretty overwhelmed but it also felt good to be getting stuff done. It was still a good practice for me to take a break every day and go climb a tree. It’s calming, balancing, and rejuvenating. What would I do without my trees? I think I’d be a much unhappier person.
DAY 888 09.08.09 – Natalie and I had a meeting to go over proofs in J-town. I dropped her off at her mom’s and then pulled over at a school off Old Six Mile Road to climb a tree. I chose a nice big Maple tree and jumped to the first limb. It was pitch black inside the canopy but it wasn’t stopping my momentum. I was flying up the tree till… a branch broke under my right arm. I had a lot of weight on that arm and was jumping to the next hold so my whole body was affected by the break. Without even thinking I just reach for the nearest branch with both arms and hugged as tightly as I could. I scraped my arm a little but I didn’t fall. My heart was pounding and I was freaked. But that lasted for about two minutes before I was back to climbing to the top of this tree. It was my own haste that caused the problem. I just made sure to be more careful and check all branches for decay first. Lesson learned and now I am a better and safer climber. Learn from mistakes, but always take risks to keep learning. That’s my philosophy. I climbed down and took pictures of the beautiful exposed roots of this tree from the lower limbs.
Then I dropped to the ground, hopped the fence and drove home. Fear doesn’t stick long with me.
DAY 889 09.09.09 – I seem to be waiting to the last minute these days. I worked all day hanging art and mirrors at Sam Swope’s house. Then rushed to Unique Imaging Concepts to drop off my edited image files for the show. Then went straight to the studio to start working on the 4×5 scans. That didn’t work but I got picked up and went to Richo’s for Gus’ b-day celebration. Then I caught a ride with Morgan and she dropped Norm, Natalie and I off at the studio. We were playing ping pong when it hit me at 11:15 that I hadn’t climbed yet. I freaked, put down the paddle and ran outside and climbed that little tree just in front of the studio. It is the same tree I climbed on the first day of the ice storm. Only this time I got much higher. I also scared away a few resting birds. I got near the top but it was a messy process. Little seed things stuck all over me. I stood at the top of the tree and zoned out a minute thinking about how crazy it is that I came so close. My heart was racing from my frantic state and I tried to calm myself down. Tree climbing is my meditation, very calming, but lately it’s been causing me some stress. I think I just need to stop putting it off till the end of the day.
DAY 890 09.10.09 – I spent all day at the gallery adjusting and dust busting digital scan images. A little after 8pm I stopped at the BBC to say Hi to Drew and Garett, and then biked to Frankfort to eat some J Gumbo. After eating I was going down Frankfort and got a call from my brother. He was telling me I needed to get some things done for my show. The added pressure I did not appreciate. I was walking my bike, talking, and passed El Mundo. Natalie, Natalie, and Morgan were there having dinner and drinking margaritas. I joined them till the place closed down. On my way home I locked my bike in front of the Blind School and climbed the tree in front of the church across the street. It was a great climb to the top and I had an incredible view of the lit church and the Louisville skyline in the distance.
I always love it when a tree surprises me with its unique view of the world.
DAY 891 09.11.09 – I walked to Bardstown Road and ran into Norman. We chatted and I followed him first to Blockbuster and then to Jennifer’s. But that is where I went my separate way to find a tree. I continued walking to Cherokee Park. All day I had been thinking of this one Beech tree by Dog Hill that has a bunch of great low branches. I have climbed a few times before and wanted to go back again to try some new movement in the limbs. I got there and was a little tired from the walk so I reclined across these three limbs that made quite a nice seat. Once rejuvenated, I went up, smooth and silent trying to make quick and effortless connections between the branches. I got up near the top then paused. I started to come back down and stayed to the outside edges of the branches, hanging, dropping, and crouching down to the next limb. It was a good climb. Definitely need to go back in the day light and try some even more creative movement.
DAY 892 09.12.09 – Around 11pm, I was in my house and working on my application for an art residency and needed to just climb and get it over with. I was barefoot and and decided to go with it. I ran out back and climbed the maple tree. The climb was good barefoot but definitely not as secure as with shoes. And I ran into two large spider webs. I could see the spiders at certain angles if there was light behind them. It was a little disconcerting.
DAY 893 09.13.09 – I went to Glassworks to meet Natalie and Morgan T. who were salsa dancing.
Before I drove them home, I went down to the intersection of Main and 9th and climbed a Sycamore tree.
I went up fast and sat near the top. I took some shots and then just soaked in the night.
As I climbed back down I stopped because I heard some people nearby walking to their car. I watched them and had this strong feeling that I shouldn’t watch. So I turned my head and waited till they drove away. Then I dropped down to the ground.
DAY 894 09.14.09 – I biked to Unique Imaging Concepts to look at a couple prints for my show and to drop off the last 4 images. When I was done and was unlocking my bike I thought, I should really go climb a tree now and not wait till the end of the night like I have for the last many days. I went to George Rogers Clark Park and was about to climb an Oak and Hackberry I had climbed many months earlier back when it was cold enough for freezing rain. But just as I stepped to these two trees I noticed another Hackberry just beyond it. It has three trunks that split off very low. Perfect for wedging myself in between and spider crawling up. I did exactly that, slowly, and carefully then twisted my body to reach back for the first available branch. Then from there I went up a few more limbs before I stopped and took some pictures.
There seemed to be a meeting of EMS people at a picnic bench within view. I was nervous they would see me and have obvious issue with the physical risk I was taking. But then I thought, what perfect people to have nearby. So I relaxed, took some macro shots of the awesome Hackberry bark,
and then started my climb down. But instead of spider crawling down in reverse, I chose to shimmy down because it feels more secure to me. The problem with that method, however, is that it scrapes up my arms, legs, and stomach pretty bad. Worth it though, it was a good climb.