Friday, November 29, 2013

I should climb more trees

This morning started out with very little promise. The ache I'd hoped to sleep off last night still clung to my ankles and seemed to have doubled in the crook of my hip sockets. I lazed about for most of the morning, made a huge bowl of oatmeal, and only ate half of it.

Seeking a change in scenery I took a shower and decided to make my way to the library.
On the walk there I dreamt up a list of topics I'm looking forward to dipping my pen into:
  • The negative affects that being sick (consistent intestinal distress) has had on my sex life.
  • What it's like to feel my capacity drain and become too weak to run errands.
  • How the last thing we should ever need is forgiveness.

BUT the library was closed today (on account of it being a holiday). So I proceeded on to Lake Merritt  to write the old fashioned way, still fully intending to write about heavy depressing topics. Not two full blocks away from the library's closed doors I came upon a situation in need of adventuring.

Last weekend, a windstorm tore through our Oakland neighborhood and felled Lake Merritt's 150 year old eucalyptus tree. Despite the caution signs it became a community playground. The ache in my joints and abdomen gave me a moment's mouth-twisting hesitation and then I jumped in.

I tightened my pack, slipped my boots off for optimal traction, and then I started to climb.


There was something magic in it; the danger of falling somehow very charming. In some ways nature has always been my favorite "bad boy". The air smelled of happy sweat, vinegar, and a surprisingly small twinge of eucalyptus.


I've climbed to a welcoming perch and am watching the children and a few adults crawl over its downed pale appendages. Although wood is not the most accommodating of seats and my body demands to be re-arranged avery 5 minutes, at this wise intersection of branches, I feel more comfortable than I did in bed or even with the shower's warmth pouring over me.

This tree is very strong medicine for my body. Cradled eight feet up by the tilted blond branches, I am a child. All my frustration drains.

My concerns dwarfed by the smell of open soil and the confusion of newly horizontal ants. The gift of last week's violent winds is deeply healing. Its gravity a tilted reminder of just how decadent the weather is today. Low 70's and kind sunshine smiling on my stockinged feet. Ducks and cormorants dive and bob for their lunches. This is my paradise. Finally, I'm truly excited to be in the Bay Area.


I stayed in that tree for two hours. Several families came, climbed, and left while I was there. I climbed around on unstable branches fell a few times, dirtied my clothes with sweat and tree-skin, and got some well-earned scratches on my arms. I considered staying longer. But the groceries I came out for were still at the supermarket waiting to come home with me.

I slipped down gratefully and smiled as wide as the sky until the sun went down.

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