Thursday, April 16, 2009

The feel of bark under splayed, barefoot toes

They have learned to climb their first tree. One foot at a time, hand over hand, pulling their lithe bodies up. Going higher and yet...higher. The feel of bark under splayed, barefoot toes. Finally fitting snugly into the nest of branches. It is a New World View from above. A rush of pleasure not felt before... Different for them who are always looking up, to look down. A vantage point from which to take it all in, exulting in the freedom of muscle accomplishment and risk.

When I was a child, I spent many an hour in a tree. Sometimes with a friend, but often alone. Frequently I would carry a notebook with me. Whether it was a Harriet the Spy phase or the creation of a play, the notebook was all the company that I needed. From my perch I could look out upon the world and dream of dreams only a child can have. But, it was enough. Enough to dream and write, and stretch my body in many directions in order to get there. To that branch, hidden from view by numerous limbs and thick foliage.

It is vital to have that time to sit with oneself. To be still and wait for the myriad, tangled and unwoven thoughts to speak in quieter tones. I crave that time. And I crave that feeling of stretching my limbs and risking a fall.

As I watch my children climb the tree, I feel blessed that I can give them this time. For exploration, invention and daring. To witness their first tree climb. They, knowing that I am close by, yet not hovering. It is through this freedom in which their creativity blossoms. Discovering in nature the lessons that provide the foundation for their growing lives...

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  1. Awesome post! For a minute there, I was back in the tree, too.

  2. Tree climbing is most excellent. Thank you for being the kind of mother who lets her kids partake.

  3. Your kids!!!! They are lovely!
    I haven't climb my first tree yet, what a waste. over here they do not 'believe' climbing trees is a norm for kids or even adults... *sigh*

  4. It was great to see a glimpse of them! I spent a lot of time climbing 2 particular trees. One, someone had built a "lookout" in, and I would sit up there for hours reading or day dreaming. The other was a challenge, and I would go higher each time.

  5. My husband is the tree climber in our family. Last weekend, he took my oldest up a few branches in his parent's maple tree. My son was exhilarated!

    What a joy to see the victory on his face.

    A simple joy.

    - Julia at Midwest Moms

    p.s. As a girl, I was wild about Harriet the Spy. ;D

  6. Oh! Such adorable little monkeys! You are a wonderful mother to let them reach for the sky. We should all get to climb a tree.

  7. Brings back such memories for me.

    I've spent entire summers in the trees. One summer was in a crude tree house we built in my grandmother's maple tree.

    Another summer I sat patiently for hours with a salt shaker because I heard that if you sprinkled salt on a bird's tail, you could catch it. I desperately wanted to hold a little bird in my hands.

  8. What beautiful little monkey people you have.

  9. What beautiful, thoughtful prose. You took me back to my tree climbing days. I, too, spent hours and hours climbing and looking down, feeling like a queen of the tippy top of my tall front yard oak.

  10. i loved climbing trees. i wish we had a good climbing tree in our yard

  11. Perfect. I remember that feeling.

    This was my favorite part of this post:

    "It is vital to have that time to sit with oneself. To be still and wait for the myriad, tangled and unwoven thoughts to speak in quieter tones. I crave that time. And I crave that feeling of stretching my limbs and risking a fall."

    I crave it, too.

  12. It's nice to know that children still climb trees (and those look like great ones for climbing!).

  13. Love the pictures. So evocative. So loverly.

  14. Oh, I was a tree-climber, too! My favorite was an Illinois black walnut, whose bark and husks would turn your hands black with juice.

    Your post brought so many sensations flooding back.

    I also loved "Harriet the Spy" as a kid!


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