“Up,Up, and Away”

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Early in our marriage, my husband walked over to a very tall fir tree across from our church and proceeded to climb it. I was appalled and let him know. It made no difference, and he went to the top and came down successfully. I had my eyes closed for most of the ascent and descent. Yesterday, I learned that my 10 year old grandson has also taken to climbing trees. I was equally distressed. I started to wonder about males and tree climbing. Why do they do it? How often do they fall? How often do they even think about falling? Is the possibility of falling part of the excitement?

I complained that I had never had any desire to climb any tree. I maintained that it was a foolish, dangerous thing to do. I reminded everyone in ear shot about the time my friend Norman Smith failed to fly from the top of the garden shed, thereby breaking his arm. No one seemed to care. There was no indication that my grandson would change his course in the future.

But then I ran across this photo from 1954. That is me up in a tree. I have somehow managed to stand on the swing seat, pull myself up using the rope I suppose and then holler for help. Apparently this photo was taken just before I was helped down.

I guess I need to be quiet about why anyone climbs a tree!

44 thoughts on ““Up,Up, and Away”

  1. I spent a large portion of my early years climbing, or sitting, in trees. I once fell from an oak tree and still bear the scars with pride. I think tree climbing should be a compulsory element in education!

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  2. I can remember climbing to the top of what seemed like a very tall tree when I was probably 6 or so. I shudder thinking of that. Later in junior my friends and I built a treehouse that served us well! It wasn’t so high off the ground and made a great place to hold secret meetings, and if I remember correctly we slept out in it!

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  3. These are the activities children need to do. It’s how they learn. Actually the mental piece to this is as important as the physical part. Thinking through a challenge develops critical divergent thinkers. I wish more children climbed trees today.

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  4. We had a large pecan tree that my brother and I climbed. I loved the challenge and the view. If I were young and agile, I’d climb the old oak tree in our yard. I’d need a ladder to get to the first branch, but after that, it would be easy.

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  5. Reminds me of what mountaineer George Mallory said in reply to the question “Why did you want to climb Mount Everest?”

    “BECAUSE IT’S THERE.”

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  6. Boys! I have 6 grandsons who love climbing trees, I think it’s the challenge & the joy of accomplishment once achieved.
    I did as a child too but only to the lower branches where I could get back down again. Accomplishment for me comes from differing challenges 😉
    Bless you,
    Jennifer

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  7. Where I grew up, the trees on the street had the lower branches cut off, to discourage anyone from climbing them. We used to walk to a big park, and climb the trees there. It was a ‘dare’ thing. Not only to see who could get to the top, but if you didn’t try, that made you a ‘coward’. I recall one boy falling from a high branch when we were 8 or 9. He broke his left arm in the fall, then became something of a hero when he showed up with a plaster cast. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. Casts did seem to be a badge of honor. I remember my daughter being very proud of her arm cast. We girls climbed those jungle gyms, now sadly deemed too dangerous. A kid usually broke an arm each year from that structure. I think we all figured we would get hurt playing and we did. No one protected us from that.

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  8. I wanted so badly to climb trees when I was a tomboy, but I never had the nerve – or the balance.
    My middle grandson is an inveterate climber. It was apparent from his toddler days when he would climb the furniture to get onto the high windowsill in their flat. He’s already broken his arm once falling off his brother’s high bunk in their caravan.
    He didn’t get that from me…

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  9. I never climbed trees, Elizabeth, but I loved climbing onto the roof of the garage and later, our house. I climbed up the washing line once and fell off, breaking my arm. I also used to climb up the water tank. My mother was busy looking after my three younger sisters so I had a lot of freedom as a kid.

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