Rediscovering the tree climbing bug

I was never a great tree climber as a kid. I always had a go but couldn’t say I went out looking for trees to climb. And now for the first time in a long time the urge to climb has come back from nowhere – my first conquest a beautiful old apple tree laiden with apples.

Some people have a natural gift for scampering up trunks and high up in to the branches. My six-year old daughter has just got the bug, always looking for the next challenge and gaining in confidence with each tree climbed.

Its kind of a natural instinct to want to climb and explore knarled old trees or trees with tempting branches at a low level. For generations its been a rite of passage: a way to express a sense of independence and tap into that deep human need for adventure.

The thrill of the climb and a sense of danger as you ascend is something that stays with you for a life time. Its one of those rich experiences which become engrained on your memory.

As you climb upwards, feeling your way and testing the strength of the branches, you enter the hidden and beautiful world of trees. The structures of trees amaze and captivate, a world of communities of nature with insects, moss and lichen among very complex branch structures.
Its the place that birds call home: a base for these wonders of nature that create such intense soundscapes for the anthems of our lives.

I tentatively put one foot on to the tree as the trunk split in two near to ground level. Slowly I found my footing and climbed into the centre of the tree. Suddenly the world became very small: focused on this sturdy and majestic apple tree, with me at its heart. Its branches were heavy with cooking apples. Dried out and crumbly moss clung to the branches full of lichens.

I was hidden from the world’s gaze, in my own private universe. All of a sudden I knew why trees mean so much to us. It felt good to have taken the unplanned plunge and climbed my first tree since I was a kid. Will I keep climbing? Who knows, being spontaneous is part of the thrill of being in nature, doing things on instinct.


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