Go Climb a Tree

September 02, 2011

One of the bonuses of having my own horse has been the friends I’ve made at the barn where I board. Not long ago, two of us were grazing our horses in the grass along the dirt driveway, when a third friend, Mary Ann, strolled down the road, and reported that she’d just climbed a tree overlooking one of the horses’ paddocks—just to see if she could. This ignited an enthusiastic discussion. Marianne (yes, her name is spelled right: friend one in this story is Mary Ann, friend two is Marianne) admitted she’s climbed the camphor tree in her front yard, also because she wanted to see if she could do it. Marianne also remembered climbing trees with a friend when she was a kid, and rigging a pulley and basket system between their two trees, sending comic books back and forth to each other.

I haven’t climbed any trees lately (I’m thinking I need to get back in practice!), but it was a favorite past time when I was a girl. When we lived in southern California, we had an apricot tree growing near our flat-roofed garage. This tree, in addition to being covered with delicious fruit every summer, also sent its limbs up and over the garage roof, creating a small, enclosed bower, perfect for an 11-year-old who would take a book, shinny up the tree and curl up in a secluded and private reading nook.

Mary Ann just happens to be 60 years old. She has the most youthful spirit of anyone I know. She comes to the barn daily where she does barn chores and takes care of her 22-year-old ex-racehorse. I’m not saying it’s tree climbing that is keeping her young, but it can’t hurt.

Mary Ann and Frenchy
How often do we stop ourselves because we feel we’re “too old” to do something? Why limit ourselves like that? I certainly advocate being careful and following commonsense safety rules, but if you want to ride the roller coaster, white water raft, go hiking, dance to the radio—or go climb a tree—please, go ahead.

Is there anything you secretly long to do that you think you can’t? What keeps you feeling young and energized?

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  1. Goodness, I am only a year and a few months away from 60 myself. That sounds horrible! It sounds better when one can say "I'm 60 and can climb trees or do anything else I want to do"! Can I? I never did climb trees or do anything really physical but I do figure I can still learn. I do not want to be an old dog who can't learn new tricks so what am I learning? Well, beyond painting in watercolors, I am learning to draw people, especially faces, and I am starting a trial version of the Pimsleur Spanish language course. Spanish was my great-grandparents native language (great-grandma grew up speaking both English and Spanish but Great-Grandpa Lopez had to learn English). It's become totally lost to my generation so I am giving it a try. I wouldn't say "try" except I am hard of hearing so even knowing what people say when they speak in English is more difficult now and I sometimes do not get it all correctly to my family's entertainment!

    Have you climbed that tree yet?

  2. Hmmmm, gave up tree climbing a few years ago, but I suppose with proper enticement, I might could still do it!

    I love Timaree learning a new language and I'd love to do that as well—French and/or Italian. I also want to go kayaking out in the wilds somewhere—not sure where yet.

    What about you? Climbed any trees yet?

  3. I don't think I've ever climbed a tree--I've not had an opportunity or the right tree to climb, but maybe I need to try it! :) I've been thinking I need to be more spontaneous and why not do something like this?

  4. Timaree--Great attitude! It's great that you're committed to learning new things. I want to review French one day, and maybe learn Italian. It think it's the attitude more than the actual activity that keeps you young!

  5. Laure--I haven't yet climbed a tree--maybe I should have Mary Ann show me which one she climbed??? I think the horse keeps me young, because he keeps me physically and mentally active. And learning new things for sure.

  6. Danielle--I hope you find just the right spontaneous thing to do--just be careful if it's climbing your first tree!!

  7. It's been a while since I've climbed (and fallen out of) a tree! Teaching keeps me young and energized -- so many wonderful learners out there, full of enthusiasm and creative energy!! I also have a list of things that are waiting in the wings for the "time to be right." Hmmmm...wonder when that will be if I don't make it right?

  8. Elizabeth--Learning something new gives me energy--I'm glad to hear teaching does the same for you. Be sure to keep us posted if and when you try some of those things on your list! (If not now, when?)

  9. Wonderful, wonderful post!! Good for Mary Ann! Brought back memories of my younger, tree climbing days. Haven't tried that lately.... these days my youthful thing that I still do after all these decades is dancing. I firmly believe that dancing, good music and art keep you young, vibrant, and enthusiastic about life.

  10. Thanks, Teresa! Dancing--what fun! Great way to stay young and energized.


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