Week #23: New heights

“If growing up means it would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!” – J.M. Barrie

It was going to be pickles, my new thing for this week. But, pickling actually takes a lot more equipment than I had previously thought. So, I tried to find some inspiration in the great wide world, get out & about, you know, that sort of thing. It didn’t really work, so I went to one of my happy places—the public library. & there in the halls of learning, was a poster for, of all things, the Midwest tree climbing competition.

Bango, bingo, cha-chingo—there’s my new thing! The competition was at a local park & after lunch I headed over. I honestly didn’t know what to expect(you can judge for yourself if the website‘s very clear), but it was nuts. Which makes sense, because nuts grow in trees.

Tree climbing is a huge, international sport (as you can see from this video from Wales) & hecka fun to watch ’cause the trees are alive with helmeted, bearded good ol’ boys secured with climbing harnesses & carabiners. As far as I can figure it, it goes hand in hand with people in the tree service (ironically, my uncle was also a treeman). The events (work climb, aerial rescue, belayed speed climb, throwline & secured footlock) highlighted the skills that are key in that line of work, focusing especially on safety, time & technique. Throwing a log into a box & handling equipment without dropping it may not sound like much until you’re doing it from 30-60 feet up. One of the guys even said he had once rescued a cat from a tree.

All in all, it was a very professional, ‘safety-first’ sort of atmosphere. That’s probably comforting to all the mothers out there who yell out to so many children, “You keep climbing those trees, you’re going to get stuck up there!!” So, the next time I’m stuck for ideas, at least I’ll know it couldn’t be any worse being stuck up in a tree.

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