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Climbing trees…. When I was a kid, I used to love climbing trees. I’d get home from school, run in the front door and out the back door, dropping my school stuff along the way. As I burst out the back door you could see the look of anticipation on my face…there it was…my favorite tree…beckoning me forward invitingly. As I reached the tree, I barely slowed down as I scrambled up it. Ahhh! Such a peaceful beautiful place I thought…and it’s all mine…well…except for the birds that didn’t fly away. I would sit there for hours just observing everything around me…the sights…the sounds…the feel of the wind…as far as I was concerned, I was as close to heaven as one could get. I climbed that tree so much that it had permanent wear marks from my feet. That tree wasn’t the only one I climbed. There were countless others that had been conquered by me. I loved a challenge and would spend days conspiring as to the best way up and down the adversary in front of me…could I actually make it to the top??? But…there was one tree…just one nemesis that laughed at me from afar. Chiding me constantly that I could not prevail over it…”you are not brave enough” it wailed. Now, this particular tree had no branches to use to climb with until you got about 20 or more feet up. At that point it broke into a narrow ‘V’ shape and continued up. This might not look too daunting to an adult, but I’m telling you, to a third grader it was formidable. One day, I had a spike in curiosity and my adventurous nature took over. I marched up to that tree, confident I would triumph over it. Like a pro, I shimmied up the tree until I reached the point where it split. Hanging on to a huge branch, I stood up, ecstatic that I had made it that far. Yes! I could do this…I could make it to the top! But I didn’t anticipate what happened next…when I tried to move my foot to the next foothold I found that it was stuck in the V of the tree. Try as I might I couldn’t get it free. I felt a flash of panic go through me and at that moment I let go of the branch…and found myself…dangling upside down by one foot from the tree. Lucky for me, a neighbor heard me yelling…they were nice enough to get me down from the tree. Too bad it wasn’t before half the neighborhood kids heard me also. Talk about an embarrassing and terrifying experience. But you know what? I refused to give up and let that tree beat me…and the very next day I climbed it again…this time paying a bit more attention to what I was doing…and my nemesis became nothing but another tree on the long list of those that were conquered before it… Nowadays, I find myself staring longingly at some beautiful masterpiece…calling to me to let go and set myself free from the chains of adulthood…those that keep us (unnecessarily so) from living with a free and child-like soul. What I wouldn’t give sometimes to go back to a day when the only thing I had to worry about was the next tree I tackled. And even though I cannot, it doesn’t mean I have to block that side of me out and lose touch with my inner-child. Don’t give up…keep trying until you succeed…and don’t forget to let your inner-child out once in awhile…it does a soul good….
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