DAY 145

DAY 145

For convenience sake, I chose to skip tree 62 and leave it for tomorrow and climb tree 63 today. Originally I thought I might jumble up the order of reclimbing those 99 trees but I have enjoyed climbing them in order this far. But practicality and frugality won out this time.

I waited all day till almost sunset to climb the tree by one of the prayer huts by a pond next to the field with the white water tower. On my way there I happened to step in a pile of dog shit wth my right foot. I did my best to rub my shoe in the grass as I walked to the tree. I came right up to the trunk and jumped for the first branch. Then I scrambled up and reached for the next, secured my grip, got a good grip on another limb with my other hand, then pulled up my body weight till I could get my foot on a good spot on a branch. I continued this in a quick manner, pausing slightly when the the next branch wasn’t obvious. I used both sides of the split trunk then committed to one because it had the blue ribbon. Every few feet I got a whiff of a really bad smell. My foot was leaving behind small amounts of fecal residue on the branches. At the top I grabbed the ribbon but it ripped and left a piece. I climbed slightly higher and could see the bark had actually grown around the ribbon, pinching it tightly between two limbs. I made a difficult transfer to the other main trunk for fun, and out of necessity. It really spread my legs but I made it. I then started to climb down happy I wouldn’t be putting my hands in any shit. But, I smelled it every few feet. A stinky but fun climb with a beautiful sunset.

8-27-08:  So, if you think about the whole dog shit thing… well, there is no way I avoided getting it on my hands just by switching branches.  Maybe if I climbed down head first, but I didn’t.  I DO remember trying to place my hands on different parts of the limbs where my feet were, but still, there were no guarantees.  Ewww.  That is what anti-bacterial soap is for.  Another note to dog owners, pick up your dog’s shit… thanks.

I also included the picture of thewhite water tower that I took that day one year ago.  I didn’t take it from the tree but I figured I talk about so often in my entries you might like to see a picture of it.  I never climbed that one, but I have always wanted to.  It is a bit taller than the green one Norm and I climbed.  Apparently unauthorized climbing of water towers, especially functioning ones, can be considered an act of terrorism and highly punishable by federal law.  That has been what keeps me from actually climbing it.  I know how I would and know I can, I just haven’t. 

One last note about this entry.  I did go out of order for the first time here.  This will be very common in the 4th part of the project.  The 3rd part which I will begin to post in October are new climbs.  Part 4 are the reclimbs of those trees.  Since I have moved back home to my parents and got a regular job by that point, reclimbing in order would have cost a lot of gas money and been a pain in my rear.

Now to yesterday’s climb.  A maple in Cherokee Park again?  No, but I did climb a maple tree.  It just happened to be at the corner of Westport Road and Bayberry Place.  This is also the location of the Louisville Indoor Racquet Club where I used to play tennis and take lessons, and the former location of Bill Edwards Music where I took guitar lessons for three years in middle school.  I will also mention with some disbelief that it is the FORMER location of the Plantation pool.  An olympic sized pool with a 30 meter platform dive (that was forever off limits).  My sister, Amy, swam for the team there, and I spent many hours playing at that pool when we lived in the Goose Creek neighborhood.  They used to freeze their candy bars and the concession stand which was so good, but so hard… literally.  Talk about delayed gratification.  They also sold bleep blip lollipops.  If you don’t know what those are, you should try to find out.  They are pure sugar tartness/sweetness… on a stick.  (Bleep blips below shown without sticks)

I should get to the point here… that the pool is gone.  The entrance building with the office and the locker rooms are gone.  The diving boards are gone.  The concrete, the fence, the hole itself that the pool sat in is gone!  Nothing but a grassy field.  When I parked  and walked up I was fully expecting to see a pool.  When I couldn’t see the platform I figured they just removed it since they never let anyone use it anyway.  But when all I saw was a field I thought I had the wrong place.  I looked around for where I might have taken a wrong turn… but no, it is just gone.  Look at google maps… it still exists there.  For some strange reason this really upset me.  Like I should have been asked first.  Honestly though, I don’t care, I don’t plan on swimming there… I mean, even if I could, but I can’t cause it is just a friggin field now. 

So I walked around aimlessly looking for a tree to get a good view of the former pool site.  They were all too big or old.  One tree was perfect and had an overhanging limb that I began to pull down to climb up.  After a big crack, I chose to move on.  I walked around for probably 20 minutes before I settled on climbing the maple just at the corner of the road… the tree that actually caught my eye and was the reason for me pulling over.  But it wasn’t close enough to the field of emptiness to get any shots of it.  This is what I could see:

This is the little shopping area where Bill Edwards Music was.  I got my first and second guitar and amp here.  Now it’s a dance studio.  I think it used to have a point-your-own-pottery place too.  Not anymore.  Things change.  Things go away.  I think I felt an even stronger sense of loss when I went back to Amherst College the year after I graduated for homecoming.  One of the trees I did an installation in, the Yellow Rope Tree, had been cut down.  It seemed fine to me when I climbed it.  Not diseased, not in the way, just in a nice grassy quad between dorms and the back of the Robert Frost Library.  Why?  I wanted answers… what gave them the right?  Then I thought, was it because of me?  Did it make them realize it was too easy to climb… that it had to be cut down so no other crazy college art kid would climb it again.  It was the tree where a campus police car raced towards me with lights on, while I was up in it, because someone called saying a student was about to commit suicide.  No way!  They wouldn’t do that… right?  But what could I do?  The tree was cut, it was gone, and I couldn’t bring it back.  At least I took pictures.

Moving on, as we all must.  And back to my maple off Westport Road.  (I am feeling quite tangental today… perhaps it is because my college friend, Stefan, is coming to visit today and his stories are notorious for their meandering tangents and loss of original point.)  Anyway, the climb was good, just challenging enough not to bother my back and, at the top, the wind blew me a little in the bending branches.  This was nice as it hasn’t been windy very much this summer.  I looked to the sky and the clouds and found some nice shots.

Then I stood and waited for a car to pass underneath me on the road.  I thought it would help you see how high I was.

I bobbed a little on the limbs, then started to make my way down.  I stopped momentarily to take one more shot to show proof I had the right spot.

I then climbed back to the lowest branches and found a good spot to hang upsidedown.  Besides my wallet falling from my pocket, it was relaxing and just what my back needed.  I hopped down and walked back to my truck determined to find out what happened to the pool.  As of today,I have no idea, google has been of no help.  Anyone know?