Another day of passing out promotional ads for my show. This time around I went to Germantown in Louisville. On my way there I stopped at Central Park to climb my tree. Another really hot day. I walked up to the tree and looked again for possible ways up other than the overhanging limb I had used for the first climb. But nothing presented itself so I walked out to the end and grabbed the skinny branch. I walked in towards the trunk going hand over hand till my feet couldn’t touch ground anymore. Then I monkeyed the rest of the way till I could grab a hold of another branch and lift myself up. Instead of climbing by the trunk I tried to go further out on the branches and climb on the outskirts. But that only lasted a few branches because as I went up the limbs got smaller and less horizontal. I kept climbing up, now more towards the center of the tree till the main trunk gradually turned to branches. I got to my first green ribbon an pulled it down. Then I transferred to another limb to go slightly higher. I was really able to bend these limbs since I was so high in them. I also enjoyed the sounds of the cicadas that were so close in the tree. I never saw one though. I climbed down disappointed that all the trees in the park aren’t connected like the trees in the book " The Baron in the Trees" by Italo Calvino. Once on the ground I shot some pictures, then as I walked back to my truck I spotted a great big owl with black eyes. Amazing to see.
Looking out from trunk at overhanging limb
On overhanging limb
8-29-08: I tried so hard to get a picture of the owl I saw last year but he was just too high and too well camoflagued to see. That tree must be his home because when I climbed there recently I heard hoo-ing from the same tree.
I would highly recommend "The Baron in the Trees" even if you aren’t crazy about trees. It is just a good book… definitely one of my favorites.
Stefan was the first person to tell me about this book and he was nice enough to send it to me in a care package last year. I was also reading the 5th book of the Dune series by Frank Herbert. In it the character Duncan Idaho climbs this huge wall. The description of his climb and how he felt was probably one of the most accurate and similar descriptions of how some hard tree climbs have been for me. It was a good summer of relevant reading.
Speaking of Stefan, yesterday he, his wife, Laura, and their daughter, Robin, went with me to Cherokee Park to climb a tree. We parked at Dog Hill (again) and walked around looking for a good tree. They had mentioned wanted to try climbing as well so I looked for a good maple similar to the ones I’ve been climbing lately. The one I ended up picking was perhaps a bit difficult for the average ground lover.
Stefan still followed after me giving it the ol’ college try. He got a little dirty and scraped up, and he definitely got hot and sweaty. The first limb was all alone so getting on top of it took some work that I take for granted. He struggled slightly but refused my help and was determined to make it on his own. He succeeded and he told me that he now appreciates more the work I do. I thought was really nice of him to say. But it also made me think… I ask people to climb trees all the time, but maybe don’t realize that what I am asking is quite difficult, uncomfortable, scary, and many other things that probably explain why so few adults climb trees in the first place. What I do know, though, is that when people actually do go out of their comfort zone and climb a tree, they are always satisfied in the accomplishment, they feel good about the exhertion of energy, and are often reminded of fond childhood memories. All things which sound worth it to me. So when I ask you all to climb a tree, I would first like to say, please be careful, and second, I very much appreciate your willingness to do something so out of the ordinary and possibly frightening and uncomfortable. (Also, call me if you get stuck, I’ll help you down.)
Back to the climb. Once Stefan was up, I began to slowly go up from limb to limb and he followed. I made sure not to get too far ahead so I could help him as he went. At one spot there was a difficult maneuver where you hold onto one limb and lift up both legs to get a high foothold, then lift yourself up. Stefan was doubtful but accomplished it. He then hugged the trunk for his life feeling he had nothing else to hold him up there.
I realized then that the next step was the exact same move only a little harder and Stefan decided to stay where he was. I suggested he work to get a more comfortable seat where he was to enjoy his spot while I climbed to the top to take pictures. He agreed and up I went making through the thinning limbs to the top. I took some images of my surroundings but I was more interested in documenting my interactions with Stefan, and Laura and Robin on the ground.
This picture above was taken with my zoom pushed to the limit. Though I told Stefan to find a seat and relax, it still looked like he was hugging the trunk for dear life.
Not wanting him to be waiting scared for too long, I climbed back down so I could help him do the same. He waited for me, but when it came to it, he didn’t really need my help. I told him to just do in reverse what he did to get up. I tried to get a few shots of his descent.
When he got to the lowest limb he attempted this swinging dismount which ended up giving him quite the scrape under his arm and his hand slipped dropping him to the ground with some force. At least he landed on his feet and was relatvely unharmed. I was very glad he joined me. I dropped to the ground myself and then Laura gave it a shot. She failed to get onto the limb, but we walked over to a small beech tree where she climbed and I hung upsidedown.
The Cressotti Family left this morning for Chicago. It was really nice to see them and to meet their first daughter, Robin, even though she didn’t do much… she was definitely cute. I hope to see you guys again before she has gown up too much. I’ll leave everyone with a nice family portrait.