Climbing Trees

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?