How to Climb a Tree
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Thoughts of A Sociable Artist

How to Climb a Tree

"One of the best ways to see tree flowers is to climb one of the tallest trees and to get into close, tingling touch with them, and then look broad." John Muir

"With ideas it is like with dizzy heights you climb: At first they cause you discomfort and you are anxious to get down, distrustful of your own powers; but soon the remoteness of the turmoil of life and the inspiring influence of the altitude calm your blood; your step gets firm and sure and you begin to look" - for dizzier heights. Nikola Tesla

The hardest part is reaching the lowest branch to pull yourself up.  Then you must test every successive branch to make sure it is strong and sturdy enough to hold your weight.  Climb high enough to settle in a crook between the branch and the trunk and gaze down upon the world like a minor deity.  From this vantage point, you will gain a different perspective than you can upon the ground.  

Go high enough to feel the movement of the tree and to have an unobstructed view.  Hopefully a fall from this height will not kill or maim you, but that is a risk you take when you dare.  It is unlikely that you will fall if you take your time, hold on tight, test each branch, and pay attention to what you are doing.  The view from the top is worth the climb.  

When I was a kid, I couldn't wait to get out of school to go home and climb the tall poplar next to my house.  I did this almost every day.  I might be a bit old to climb trees now, so I do the next big thing: I hike up mountains.  I'm not talking about Everest or Kilimanjaro here - nothing that requires oxygen and sherpas.  There is something about looking out at the wide expanse of the world from a high viewpoint. A reminder of the vastness has a way of resetting priorities.

If you have never tried to reach the lowest branch or never walked the first mile to begin the climb, you cannot comprehend the view from the top: how everything looks so small and manageable.  It does no good for someone to describe it to you.  You have to see it for yourself. Once you have made the climb, you can see the bigger picture: how it all ties together.  Reach for the bottom branch. 

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