Monday, June 4, 2012

That Tree Had a Feral Streak

When I was a kid I used to love to climb trees! We had three big maples in our yard and they were of three varying degrees of difficulty.

There was the 'Easy Tree' which had a lot of nicely placed branches for climbing. I could get high enough in that tree to see over the roof and get an awesome view of most of the neighborhood. It had good sitting branches and some great dropping branches (those that were perpendicular to the trunk and had no branches below them so you could hang by your hands and drop to the ground without crashing into other branches on the way down.) One of those dropping branches was just high enough that everytime I dropped from it I risked breaking a leg, but fortunately, never did.

Then there was the Wild Tree'. This one was a little more difficult to climb - not so user friendly. It didn't have quite as many nice sitting branches, no dropping branches and seemed to have more bugs. I swear the leaves were darker and the bark rougher even though it was a twin of the Easy Tree. Somehow that tree seemed just a bit 'wilder' than the other tree. We'd fully domesticated the Easy Tree, but this Medium Tree had a feral streak.

And the third tree was the Eating Tree. Not because it was a nice tree to sit in for a picnic, but rather because if you attempted to climb it, it would do it's best to chew you up and swallow you whole. This one was almost impossible to climb. It had no good branch to grip in order to get into the branches, just a single fat trunk branching off the main trunk. I remember trying to climb it and getting stuck. The tree actually ate my shoe and I had to be rescued by my father who was diligently mowing the lawn at the time. I'm sure he greatly appreciated the opportunity to take a break and pull my little butt out of that tree. But I'm grateful. If he hadn't rescued me I might have gone the way of my shoe, into the gaping maw of that tree, never to be seen again. Despite it's child-eating tendencies and disinclination to allow climbers, it seemed slightly less feral than the Wild Tree. Maybe it didn't have to be as defensive since there was really no way to get up into the branches to begin with and no one really tried.

I spent a lot of time in the Easy Tree and the Wild Tree. So much time that they became boring so I had to branch out (pun intended). I remember spending a day with a friend wandering around the neighborhood looking for other people's trees to climb. That was fun until I got my foot stuck in a neighbor's tree at the exact moment that a car pulled into the driveay. I managed to extricate myself before my face burned off in embarrassment and we slunk away, pretending we hadn't just got caught climbing their tree. After that we stuck to my trees.

But those trees are gone now, replaced by small, flowery, frou-frou trees that would buckle, bend and break at any attempt to climb them. As with most things in life, things change. Sigh. I miss those trees.


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