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.

Week #22 Report

“They say when you are missing someone that they are probably feeling the same, but I don’t think it’s possible for you to miss me as much as I’m missing you right now” – Edna St. Vincent Millay

When I went home for Memorial Day Weekend, I spent a bit of time outside. Which meant chigger bites & the ensuing itchiness. You’ve all had that feeling before, I’m sure, the one that starts in your finger tips & continues until even your hair’s on fire, dying for just one little scratch, one bit of relief.

That’s kind of what it was like for me without the mirror this week. While I wouldn’t classify myself as a vain person, I felt like Narcissus pining for his pool, almost aching to be able to use the mirror again. It was so strange walking into a room with a mirror & averting my eyes or even closing them. If I accidentally caught a glimpse of myself, it was startling, like a shock of cold water & I usually gasped & snapped my peepers shut.

I missed seeing my face, but more than that, knowing what was going on with myself that day.  Not going to lie, I get a little swagger when I especially like what I see in the reflection. I carry that mental image with me throughout the day & get a little boost from it. Without that, I felt somewhat deflated, but it wasn’t all bad.

Similar to losing a cellphone, it was refreshing not to have to meet an object’s expectations. When I headed out the door, I felt somewhat of a ‘Qué será, será’ attitude & didn’t let myself stress over my appearance. A few times, I even tried to do my hair, but attempting a new style with only touch to tell you what’s going on is very challenging. Messing up didn’t come as a defeat, just a new adventure.

Was it hard? Yes. Will I do it again? No. Did I gain something to reflect on? Oh yeah 😉

Week #18: Roots & petals

“Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love, in the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine.” – Gordon B. Hinckley

I’m usually pretty laid back, but even I go through the occasional funk. Like my brain is doing this to itself.  One of the things that can help snap me out of it is the beauty of God’s creation (if I remember enough to immerse myself in it).

Next time I’m feeling topsy turvy, I know where I’ll need to go—the Arboretum. I’d heard about this garden paradise many times before, but until this week I’d never been. A friend from high school was in town visiting & I was tasked with coming up with things to do. We’d already partied like it was 2004—pigging out on good food, falling asleep watching movies & swapping our best guy-related stories—when we decided to partake in another old pastime (walking around & enjoying nature).

We had a grand old time, taking pictures & reveling in the beautiful flowers, fish & mosquitoes (not so much). It was God’s grace shining through the sun & the smiles & the green & the warm & the shininess of it all. Now that’s a reason to be happy.

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