Tree Climbing on Solstice Day
It was an interesting winter solstice day this year for me. We went disc golfing and while we were warming up my son threw my disc way up in the top of a tree where it stuck in the branches. It was way too high to get down by throwing anything at it - perhaps over fifty feet up in the tree.
My son felt like trying to get my disc back and asked for a boost up the tree. I gave my son a boost up to get on the branches and he climbed part way up but came back down. I didn’t want to risk him falling out of the tree so I didn’t push him to go any higher.
We were about to walk away from the tree and I told my son that I thought the disc would probably be blown down from the tree at some point and make a good Christmas gift for some lucky person, but then I said, “I’d love to at least try to get it, I think I can get it down.”
At that point I could see my son was very hesitant about me even trying to do such a thing and wasn’t about to give me a boost up the tree, so before I lost my nerve I pulled myself up on the lowest branch and wrapped my leg over it.
The initial effort got me breathing hard but the going was pretty easy in the lower part of the tree. I just paced myself until I could feel my effort was matching my breathing. I had never done any tree climbing when I was a child; there were trees around but none of them were very good for climbing. I had done rock climbing and some other pretty intense activities though. Many somewhat risky activities are just a mental game. Sure you could get injured but if you stay in the right frame of mind you can do many things that you didn’t think you could and they aren’t that risky if you have confidence in doing them.
About half-way up I took a break for a moment and just hugged the tree for a while. It almost seemed to me that the tree was happy I was there. (I don’t think tree’s really think for themselves but we can in a way think for them) I looked around and could see the places where other peoples feet had rested on the branches and worn little patterns in the bark. I was certainly not the first person who had climbed there; the view was nice and I was having fun being up in the tree.
Rested and reassured I continued upwards towards the crown of the tree. There the branches were very thick and I was getting difficult to move higher. I could see my disc just up ahead another ten feet or so. There were a lot of dead branches here too that I thought about breaking off to reach up with but I decided to just push my way up through the tree like a big bear going after some berries or something.
I finally got the disc and my son wanted me to toss it out through the crown of the tree but I was worried that it might get stuck again. I decided to just drop it down through the tree and it landed by his feet.
Going down was easy. I was really happy to get my disc back and it felt good to climb a tree higher than I had ever done in my life.
The smoking garbage can
We continued on playing a game of disc golf but for the first few throws I was kind of having a bit of troubles after being slightly scratched up from tree climbing. After I calmed down I did just fine though.
About a half hour later my son noticed some smoke coming out of a garbage can near the ball park. I didn’t think much of it at first but he was wondering if we should call the fire department or something. We went over to look and there was a small fire started in the garbage can. I thought maybe it would go out by itself but thought we should watch it.
After a while flames were starting to grow on it and I was worried it might spread more so we called the city parks department and they called the fire department. Pretty soon a city worker arrived with a fire extinguisher and put it out. Some police and fire trucks arrived after that but there wasn’t much to do at that point.
I talked to a fireman as he was leaving and he said they thought some kids had started it because there were some burnt things on the road nearby. I didn’t think that was the case - I had even taken a picture of it earlier and there weren't any burned items on the road. I thought anything there most have come from the can.
My son and I talked about it and we both felt that perhaps someone might have placed something smoldering into the the trash can. There were no kids around that morning while we were playing and it didn’t seem like something kids would do during daylight hours. Perhaps someone had cleaned out ashes from a grill or emptied an ashtray into the garbage but who knows. It seemed easier for me to think of it this way – I mean why assign malice to something more easily explained by stupidity? LOL ;)
In any case it was a pretty exciting day. I went back today to the park and took a picture of the tree so you can see what I’m talking about. I wish I had taken a picture from the inside while I was in there but it didn’t occur to me when I was busy trying to learn how to climb the tree.
Climbing the tree made me think about my youth. One of my friends in college liked to go rock climbing and sometimes I would go along with him. I never got into it as much as he did.
One time he took me up a really hard technical climb with some ropes. I tried to pace myself but got into a place where I could not catch my breath and could not go up any farther. I also could not see where to put my feet to go back down. I tried to rest there for a bit but I could feel my strength slipping away and I became very afraid. My friend could tell that I was in trouble and he told me to just let go.
I was high enough that I did not want to trust the rope and was not sure that my friend was strong enough to support me. I held on and still tried climbing until there was utterly no way to continue and a decision was made for me. I was in a total panic and very fearful when I finally fell from the rock but the fall was very short and the rope held. I was amazed that my friend was not torn off the rock as well but he had set things up right and we were both fine.
Climbing the tree was different, yet the fear can get to you too as you get high above the ground. If you push yourself too hard and get in a place you can neither go up or down there is no rope there to catch you. If you get too afraid your entire body seems to shut down and the strength can drain from you.
When your in the middle of doing something like this it is best not to think of every bad thing that could happen, like having to call the fire department for a rescue. (They are really bad about rescuing discs from ball park signs, I doubt they would be much better about rescuing disc golfers from trees. I can just imagine myself being up in the tree for days clinging on for dear life, hyperventilating and barely whispering, “help, help” like some frightened cat. Just kidding, I have more faith in the fire department than that, LOL.)
Having some faith can really help you do things that you didn’t think you could. My imagination tends to be ten times worse than the things that do happen. To easily climb a tree, love seems to work better than fear. I’m reminded that lots of things seem to work better that way.
Faith, gratitude, thankfulness and blessings to all of you this season. :)
Thanks for reading! I always value your support and comments. The pictures were taken by me with my Galaxy S9+. Text and graphics copyright 12/22/2018 lightsplasher & litesplasher.