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Go Climb a Tree

Updated on March 15, 2012
Photo by David Trebacz
Photo by David Trebacz

On a more personal note , this one is a bit about (little) me and why I am a "treehugger".

The Homebody

In a family of four girls, I was the second middle child. My two older sisters had found their niche early in life. The oldest was a tomboy who played music (mostly the drums) and painted. My second older sister was a flexible ballerina (pretzel) forever showing off her talents as a dancer, gymnast and Chinese contortionist. My younger sister was the baby - "My baby" until she got a mind of her own. As a girl, I was the quiet homebody. Standing on a stool helping in the kitchen or folding warm towels fresh from the dryer were everyday activities for me. I tried impressing my mother with my cleaning talents; getting the finger prints off the door knobs and shining up the window on the oven door. I was content to be mommies little helper.

Other homey activities included time with my kitties and plinking on the piano. In my mind, I was a master of sound and rhythm while hitting the ivory keys. I let my fingers flow, choosing quiet "songs" that flirted with cheerful notes. From my seat at the piano bench I could see the very tall tree across the street. It had a thin trunk that towered over the house it stood in front of. Thin delicate foliage reached out from the trunk with symmetry. It seemed to me that something that tall should simply tip over and hit the ground- but it never did. Part of the enjoyment of playing the piano was looking at this tree. It was these moments that offered time away from busyness and a chance to daydream.

No matter what I was doing indoors - I was always looking outdoors. The windows in the house offered views of various mature trees. I was mesmerized by them as they seemed to happily dance when a light breeze flowed through them. Other times they seemed to fight against gusts of wind and rain . On occasion, a small brown bird would make a nest and I could hear the tiny new birds outside my bedroom window. Rainy days were great, the colors of the trees changed and leaves became shiny.

They're Alive!

My Uncle visited on a regular basis; he and my mom had long talks at the kitchen table. I overheard him say once that trees were alive. This was surprising news! He also mentioned (in reference to the tree bark missing on our trees) that trees can feel. Now this was very interesting to me. I began to see trees with new eyes.

Could the trees I had studied - know I existed?

Where they watching me?

I had a mixture of feelings about this. If they could really see me, what thoughts did they have of me? I was not a contortionist, an artist or the cute little baby - I was just me, plain and ordinary. Would they like me? The awkward feelings extended to other areas of my life. Getting dressed in the morning was a chore now, I had to make sure I could not be seen through the curtains. After all, if the trees where alive I couldn't take a chance on them seeing me.

Over time, the anxiousness about the trees lessened and I developed empathy for them. Looking at the pepper tree in my backyard, I noticed how it was stuck. Attatched to the ground and couldn't go anywhere. It had to endure cold nights and rainy days. Never being sheltered but always offering shelter it to others. I liked trees even more now that they were alive. My first sense of kinship was with a tree.

The Partridge Family
The Partridge Family

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

Feelings of being stuck were something trees and I had in common. I can not recall a day going by without being picked on by my older sisters. The two formed an alliance and it seemed like they were always primed for an attack. One time in particular a favorite television program came on about a musical family. I happily shouted:

"The Partridge Flamily is on!"

A piercing roar of laughter shot out from my sisters.

"F l a m i l y?" they giggled " You dork! That's not how you say it! It's FAMILY."

Feeling small once again, I decided this time I would stick up for myself. Correcting my words and gritting my teeth, I yelled " I meant the Partridge Flamily!" ( I did it... again)

The heat of embarrassment overwhelmed me and I wanted to disappear. I ran outside and sat under the pepper tree; laying down on the cool leafy ground taking refuge under its branches. Then I noticed something I had never seen before - when I looked up to the sky while under the tree I saw the random design of branches coming from the trunk . Light and shadow made the world of the tree seem mystical. A cool breeze blew against my face and I suddenly felt relaxed and safe. .

Higher Ground

Not long after that day, I began climbing that pepper tree. When at the tip-top I could see over the roof of my house.

I was as high as the sky!

I was the tallest person in the world!

It was the strongest I had ever felt in my life. I began climbing any tree that would offer it's branches to me. I don't escape into the sky anymore but the peace and sense of tranqulity trees gave me then, I still experience today. Each tree is unique and beautiful - I urge you the next time you see one, look at it with new eyes and discover what it has to offer you.

Photographing Trees

 by MM Del Rosario

How Much of a Nature Lover are You?

How do you enjoy nature the most?

See results


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    • Kim Lynn profile image

      Kim Lynn 

      8 years ago

      Poll wouldn't let me vote for every catagory, bummer.

      I'm right there with you. Loved it. Thanks!

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 

      8 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Beautifully written. The trees see us, and if we look, we could see them too. Many are too busy to look. My husband and I love to hug trees. They are very powerful.


    • Yard of nature profile image

      Yard of nature 

      9 years ago from Michigan

      I don't climb trees much any more, but I do enjoy napping in my hammock strung between two tall oaks and watching the dance of the treetops in the woods around me. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • RTalloni profile image


      9 years ago from the short journey

      Climbing trees took me up to light...I felt like I was cradled in Creation! Climbing a tree again is just one more reason to continue my exercise program in order to regain some lost strength...thanks for the encouragement!

    • heysmarty0 profile image


      9 years ago

      I'm a nature lover. You have me to go out and climb a tree. Thanks a lot for this great post.

    • The Real Tomato profile imageAUTHOR

      The Real Tomato 

      9 years ago

      Eldrich- Being still and quiet among trees gives a totally different perspective. What color are the trees by the patio this time of year?

      Mulberry1- Hiking is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. The wind, the sun, the variety of textures and smells just to name a few great aspects of hiking.

      Thank you both for commenting

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 

      9 years ago

      I'm a nature lover for sure. Hiking, gardening and such are my favorite past times. I remember reading some research years ago that concluded that trees indeed can feel pain. I now shudder every time I see a tree with initials caved into it!!

    • Eldritch Elegy profile image

      Eldritch Elegy 

      10 years ago

      Beautiful story. I love reading about people's childhoods, especially when they are still so in touch with them that the words come alive on the page.

      I think the Army made me forget about how beautiful nature is. When you're outside from four in the morning 'till eleven at night, you start to forget that it's a bonus and not a drawback.

      I think I'll go spend some time on the patio today and enjoy the trees.

    • The Real Tomato profile imageAUTHOR

      The Real Tomato 

      10 years ago

      RGraf- It is not so easy these days to find good ones. Especially in california, so much construction on the land we used to play on. I think the swings were a runner up for me. How about you?

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 

      10 years ago from Wisconsin

      You have me wanting to go out and climb a tree which I have not done in years. It was always so much fun.

    • The Real Tomato profile imageAUTHOR

      The Real Tomato 

      10 years ago

      ripplemaker - ah the clouds - I remember spending time looking for animal shapes in the sky - green meadows, now that is one I have yet to see in person. Can't wait.

      Dame - Everything looks different from up high. Gives a fresh perspective.

      Thank you both for stopping in and commenting.

    • Dame Scribe profile image

      Dame Scribe 

      10 years ago from Canada

      I climbed trees all the time when I was a kid too ... now I am terrified of standing on anything higher than 3 ft n makes me look higher off the ground :O lol... but I love the views from heights. Thank you for sharing such a pretty visual.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      COnfession time: I've never climb a tree...but I love nature and love seeing the clouds and green meadows and rainbows and gardens of flowers....thanks for sharing this one.

    • The Real Tomato profile imageAUTHOR

      The Real Tomato 

      10 years ago

      Iphigena- Nature hikes is one of my favorite family activities. More beauty can be seen from on foot rather than from behind the wheel.

      Jo - I prefer the fresh air too. It snows here in the winter and it brings a whole new beauty to the outdoors. I am looking foreward to spring though.

      Teresa - Oh gosh I love red Cardinals but I will have to look up Carolina wrens to see what they look like. We have mostly Blue Jays, Steller Jays, Woodpeckers and Robins. Although the Steller Jays are striking I think Robins are much more pleasant to look at. 

      Wendy - I drove by the house I grew up in a few years ago and the new owners removed all but one tree. My heart sunk - I know how you feel.  Thank you for stopping by! 

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I remember the day they removed the trees that lined our street that had been lifting the sidewalk. I have never felt so empty, our street so bare.

      Where I live now I have soooo many trees- most I have planted with my children.

      I know they love tree as much as me.

      Thanks for sharing ; )

    • Teresa McGurk profile image


      10 years ago from The Other Bangor

      I have live oaks and pines in my yard, and I've always loved trees -- and the wildlife they house or shelter. There's a raccoon in one, squirrels in all, possums, and the birds are crazy this time of year (the red cardinals are my favorites, but the Carolina wrens and the hummingbirds are tied for second place). Trees provide shelter, shade, and make handy coat hangers for Spanish moss.

    • joarline profile image


      10 years ago from Skull Valley, Az.

      Oooh! That was nice. I could tic all the outdoorsy stuff. I prefer being out to being in, and yes, I talk to the trees. JO

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Lovely - the emotions that we experience as children really are powerful enough to shape our lives. I ticked that hike in nature - I could equally have ticked gardening and climbing trees. Thanks for this HUB and sharing your memories.


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