Friday, July 12, 2013

Fighting Gravity

My life is comfortable, and it’s easy to sit down in front of the tv in the evening. Sometimes during the day I even think about the couch.  I may be judging myself, but I think I have completely given in again...

To gravity! (That is not a toast. That is a death sentence.)

It is the force that lets things fall back to the earth. The perpetual anchor that grounds me. It keeps me in position while everything around is pushing in. I feel safe in familiar surroundings because I know I’m protected against the unknown.

The opposite of gravity is motion and discovery: expanding into new territories, both in the way I think, and in moving my body again. I have got to fight gravity. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wanted: Fresh Air

My tribe is the outdoorsy type who wants to blend in with nature, even inhale it. The one who wants to be present in the woods and listen to the birds, and watch the sun come through the leaves. The one who wants to experience nature as a destination, a place, as roof and floor and walls. Who feel creative and alive when they are outside, even if they’re just standing still.

Pondering trees is something you are actually allowed to do. You could also climb them. When we make it to adulthood we can do anything we want to. Although we are all grown-ups, we sometimes worry about how we might look to other people. I might go for a hike, but I could never just lay down on the grass and look up into the sky. Someone might see me, have an opinion about my behavior, and maybe even think I was crazy. Is this just something that’s only in my head, a rule I think exists but no one else follows?

Is it really possible anymore to just go out and stand in the middle of a meadow and just…stand there? Or stop along the hiking trail and not reach your destination? If we look at the purpose of our outdoor activities, it’s where we can breathe deeply. It’s where we can see a long way, where the sun hits our skin and warms it. Out of doors is the place of vitality, of growth, of limits that are far off from our sight.

It is a place full of life. Small things move under the grass, wings fly overhead, and moisture and nutrients are drawn up through trunks. Green fuels life, and sun creates the green. It is mysterious and unstoppable. It is full of invisible processes that we cannot measure with our eyes. It’s that mystery that draws us out.

Would people come to an event where they just go outside without activities? If there was a conference called “Standing Under Trees” would anyone come? What if we called it “Nature Immersion”? What we would do is be outside, and not do something else. I think it’s time for the movement of standing still. In the woods, under a tree. Or you could climb one instead. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What I Got For Ten Bucks

As a kid I’d climb into the maple tree in front of our apartment building. Quietly I’d grab the lowest arm, and lift my leg over top. I’d push off the trunk with the other foot, twist my body up, and pull until I hoisted myself into the tree. Phew! Looking down to the grass below, I’d see that my knees and arms were red and scraped. A small price to pay for the time I would spend as an honorary branch.
            Slowly and carefully I’d keep going up, until I reached the one long bough that was nearly parallel to the ground. There were built-in handrails just above, so I could slide my hands along the way and feel secure. I’d creep out from the trunk to a spot over the sidewalk below. From the leafy hideout I could see people walking up and down the street, and it thrilled me to be hidden above them.
            I heard someone come out of my building, but I didn’t want to move my head to see through the green screen. Although I couldn’t tell who it was, I accepted the mystery in order to protect my safehouse. Eventually they’d get in their car and drive away, and I’d breathe again. I even dressed in green and brown to hide in my environment.
            Still today there’s nothing more torturous than spotting a huge canopy that goes up forever, and no low branches to get me in there. I want to blend in with nature again…to see if the birds will forget about me and land alongside.
            When I heard about EarthJoy Tree Adventures, I knew I could travel back in time. I wanted  to climb again! I went for a ten dollar taste, and found Shelly. She is darling. Not only is she passionate about trees, she knows how to climb them. Hubby Bill also beams joy and confidence. Not for one minute was I nervous or worried. I was circled in safety by both my climbing harness and by the dear Byrnes!
            Do I recommend them? Completely. Will you have a blast? Absolutely. Should you go have a ten dollar taste for yourself? Hop on over to  and get out there this weekend. And don’t forget to wear green and brown.