I had thought that I had two days left where I could climb new trees since I had less trees to reclimb than days left in the year. This evening I was reading through entries of the first climbs to make sure my tree numbers were accurate. They weren’t and I realized I had another tree to reclimb. I was planning on driving to Tinseltown to climb this evening but I decided I would climb the tree I had forgotten.
I went out the front door to find a dark and warm night. I walked down my street and took a left onto Cedar Point Road. I wore dark clothes ’cause I wanted to be as stealthy as I could since I was going to be on private property. I took another left into the Mockingbird something-or-other neighborhood. This street is much more open than my street and I looked up at the clear night sky looking for the moon. I saw starts, Orion, Big Dipper, but no moon. Besides the slight pink glow from Louisville in the distance.
It was a very dark night. As I approached the turn off to the field with my tree I was happy to see that both houses connected to the grass field were dark.
I stepped onto the grass and my feet sank down into the soaked ground. We’ve had so much rain lately it all just sits around creating such a soggy mess. I did my best to navigate in the dark away from any major puddles. Luckily my feet didn’t get soaked this time. I reached the poplar tree and could see its silhouette against the sky. I think it is one of the most beautiful shapes of all the trees I’ve climbed. The trunk has a slight S-curve with nice symmetrical branch growth. I couldn’t remember if I shimmied the trunk or climbed up an overhanging limb last time but decided to use the trunk this time. As I started to inch up I heard a dog start barking. I can’t say it was at me but it wouldn’t have been the first time. Luckily the dog stopped and I was high enough to grab the first branch.
The climb to the top was easy and my eyes had adjusted to the dark.
I got to my ribbon and put it in my pocket.
Then I climbed slightly higher and stood between two skinny limbs. The wind started to pick up and felt great. I went back down a little to try and take pictures but I didn’t get much for lack of light.
I also got a little nervous because the dog started barking again and the light from my camera was pretty bright. I did my best.
During shooting I heard this strange noise. Definitely an animal noise and I froze. After my recent raccoon experience I was scared. What was in this tree? It was too dark to tell. I could be up here with some crazy animal and have no idea. I made some whistling noises and I never heard the strange sound again. I put my camera away and climbed back up to my split stance. I picked a twig with a bud on the end and stuck it in my mouth. Then with my legs spread wide, one hand on my hip, and a stick in my mouth I posed. I mean, I didn’t really, but it looked like I was. Kind of like Bruce Campbell on the cover of Army of Darkness.
The wind blew all around me and I began to think about this project and how I am so close to the end. I’ve climbed everyday for almost a year. Just thinking about that it seemed unbelievable to me.
I looked up at the starts one last time and then began to climb back down. I went carefully straining my eyes looking for raccoons or other creatures. I didn’t see any and I was soon at the bottom branch. I moved onto the trunk and slid down. I walked towards the back of the lot thinking I could just cut through someone’s yard and be on my street. I got to the edge of the field and a dog rushed up and growled. My heart jumped and I immediately turned around and walked back the way I came. Damned dogs. Very good climb though.
4-1-09: April Fool’s Day. I am still not sure if there was acually an animal in that tree that night. Part of me thinks it was just my mind playing tricks or coming up with explanations that aren’t true. No way to know for certian, I guess. I know that dog scared the shit out of me, though.
March 31st 2009. Tuesday… yesterday. I went to my parents in the evening to have dinner and get my laundry done. After the meal I headed outside to climb a tree. The sun had recently set but a little light still lingered in the distance.
I walked to the end of my parents’ street and took a left. Just beyond the corner was a tree with small branches that formed a path to the top. It was just inside the property line of the house on the corner but it looked dark like no one was home.
I jumped over the ditch and walked around the trunk to the spot where I could get started. I looked around for cars then started to climb. A lot of the little branches I used bent easily and I had to carefully distribute my weight among the few holds.
It was slow but I eventualy made it to the top of the tree.
A strip of warm yellow light hovered below blue clouds.
The night was setting in fast and darkening the fresh green grass of the nearby development.
I looked in the other direction and saw a strange red glow in the sky.
I took a picture not sure if it would come out in the photo. It was that time of night when everything is eerily quiet and most people are home eating dinner.
Rickey had called during the climb and we were catching up till my reception went out. I finished shooting my shots and then climbed back down. As I went the house’s security light just near me started to blink on and off. I would be still, then climb down a branch and it would come one, then go off. It was really annoying. But no one noticed me.
Back on the ground I called Rickey back. He seems to always get a kick out of talking to me while I’m in a tree. We got to talking about finances and he asked how I was able to live with such little money. I make well below the poverty line yet take no aide such as food stamps. I eat well and have all that I need. I have no debts and I am quite happy. Rickey really wanted to hear how I ate and shopped. He wanted to know what it took to be able to live within such meager means. I told him, I usually skip breakfast. If I do eat it, it’s oatmeal. Lunch is always the same… peanut butter and jelly. For dinner it’s a lot of pasta. I do go out to eat and drink at bars, but I always try to find the deals like $2 pint night at the BBC and 99 cent burritos at Taco Bell. When I shop I like to buy organic which costs more but that is something that is important to me and that I won’t skimp on.
I haven’t bought any new music in the last year. All the clothes or miscelaneous items I need I try to get at second hand stores. I am also quite lucky to have such supportive parents who cover some minor expenses like car repair. They gave me an old truck that is paid for and I try to bike everywhere making it so that I only fill my tank once a month. I can pretty much talk myself out of buying anything I don’t need and most often when I shop buy less then what I originally had in my basket to start with.
I work odd jobs from time to time and I try not to say no to an offer to work. If you start saying no, people stop asking. When it comes to losing money like with parking tickets, or something breaks, just any general loss of money I allow 200 every year. That way, as long as I don’t lose more than 200 I don’t get angry. Money comes and goes and there is no point in getting attached. I try to follow the law, be it traffic, tax, whatever. Staying out of trouble is a lot cheaper than the risk of getting into it.
This is just a little insight into my life, my philosophy of cheap living and life as an artist.