Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Run (from the) Forest, Run


I hope that I shall never (again) see,
anything quite so ridiculous
as me,
falling from a tree
A writing peer of mine from my past once posted a flowery, moving epistle about her personal thing for the beauty of trees. It was so eloquent and poignant, it almost made one want to go out and hug the nearest tree.
Fortunately, I'm still bearing a grudge, and resisted the urge. More on that in a mo'.
Now, as a youth of boundless energy at times, possessed of a lack of knowledge of and appreciation for the laws of Nature and gravity, I didn't initally look at a tree and see something to be either hugged or despised. I simply saw a new horizon. An opportunity to exercise my imagination. And my arms.
If the tree could bear my weight, I'd climb it. I made like a cat and ascended any tree I could. Unlike a cat, I didn't get stuck in them. I was more like a squirrel, cavorting in them. Unlike a squirrel, I didn't seek nuts in them.
I was there.
I have climbed trees for fun, imagination, solitude, height, camouflage (useful at chore time), and for food, in the case of apple, mulberry, cherry and plum trees. Add to those, my conquests of maples, oak, birch, aspen, pine, weeping willow and cottonwood trees. I would have climbed a sequoia when confronted with a forest of them, but had neither the time or reach to do so.
On the other branch, I also saw the downside of trees: trees were fair-weather friends, shedding their leaves so I could no longer use them to hide in at chore time. And the splendor of autumn colors was less splendiferous when it all had to be raked up.
Stupid trees.
Then came adulthood, and I learned other aspects of and issues with trees: issues environmental, economic and political. I was astounded to learn that trees had rights, activists and lawyers, oh my.
But it wasn't until later in adulthood that I considered giving a tree a hug. And it had nothing to do with anything akin to a sappy emotional attachment.
I was falling out of it.
And no, the point isn't that I shouldn't have been in the tree in the first place; I had a perfectly legitimate reason for being where I was, before I wound up where I did. I was gathering firewood.
Oh, shut up.
The campsite was bereft of available wood for the fire. And each tree in the camp had been stripped of branches, up to 10-15' off the ground. But above that, dry and useable fuel for to make with a good campfire -- and roasting good things thereon -- was to be had, by anyone willing to go forth and gather the fruits of the labor.
And challenge the laws of gravity and strength of the branch stubs. I was.
While two of my female friends watched and alternated between "you're gonna fall!" and "just give me the keys and I'll go BUY some firewood" -- rank heresy -- I went up one tree, then another, and garnered a fair collection of wood for the evening's bounty, using my gifts of balance and arm strength, along with a handy hatchet. With success in two trees, I pushed the envelope and elevation in the third, and was just whacking down an excellent specimen about 15' up, when payment for the laws of Nature and gravity came due.
A branch stub protested my applied weight, gave way, and I came down the tree like it was a fireman's pole.
I'm here to tell you, it wasn't built like a fireman's pole.
After my hand was cleaned up and bandaged, I reluctantly surrendered my keys, and the balance of the firewood for the night and next day was...oh, the agony...purchased.
At any rate, nowadays I have no problem standing amongst the splendor of trees. But hugging one? Puh-lease. Not when one humiliated me, seconds ahead of vindication.
Still bearing a grudge. And scars.

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9 Comments:

Blogger A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Skunk, you're a regular Shel Silverstein, I tell you.

27 October, 2009 09:02  
Blogger Sandee said...

You sound just like me. I was a tom-boy and climbed trees constantly...among other things that made my mother cringe. I've fallen out of a few too. No wonder we aren't tree huggers now. We are holding a grudge. Bwahahahahahaha. Explains everything.

Have a terrific day. :)

27 October, 2009 10:28  
Blogger The Things We Carried said...

Hm, for just a second I wondered if I was that friend, since I recently wrote about trees, but then I saw it was a person from your past :).

I used to climb trees myself. The ones I climbed were genrally evergreen though. I truly loved it and miss that part of being young.

Once again, I have to laugh as I read this, though I feel terribly about it as this episode resulted in a very unfortuante event for you! But, you are the first person I have ever known to CLIMB a tree for firewood!

27 October, 2009 18:08  
Blogger The Dental Maven said...

My, my, Skunk. Tsk. Once again, you were lucky to get off with only minor injuries!

Good Grief!

28 October, 2009 05:42  
Blogger Debbie said...

You climbed a tree to gather firewood??? Oh my.

There is so many things wrong with that.

Deborah F. Hamilton
Right Truth
http://www.righttruth.typepad.com

28 October, 2009 10:46  
Blogger Skunkfeathers said...

Debbie: yup, to include, but not limited to, the landing therefrom ;-)

28 October, 2009 12:44  
Blogger Sniffles and Smiles said...

Ah, Mike...you weave a hilarious tale!! Your ability to connect the political with the personal...and wrap it all together with humor is absolutely amazing!!! You need to quit your day job!!! Time to pursue writing a column for your local newspaper...Hugs, Janine

28 October, 2009 12:48  
Blogger Sniffles and Smiles said...

Hi, Mike!!! Just checking in to see if you were home over here!!! Hugs, to you my dear friend! Janine

05 November, 2009 13:48  
Blogger Sniffles and Smiles said...

Tapping my foot...crossing my arms...calling out, "Seymour, where's Mike? I know you've got him captive somewhere around h'yar!!!" Hugs, Janine

14 November, 2009 15:39  

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