CONTENTS

SCROLL DOWN TO READ SELECTED AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES; or
click here to return to Beginning, or here to go to my Home Page; or, select one of these individual sketches: My Hospital, Birthday, and Birth Day // When I Stopped Clicking My Cup // Plow Horses // WWII: Faint Memories // First Flight // Photographic Memory // At Grandma Pratt's // Pets // They Had to Build Me a Room // Taught to Bathe // 1 Bathroom, 5 Women, 2 Men // There Were Worlds Under Bushes // I Stole from My Mother // I Saved My House from Burning Down // I Painted My White House Black // Slinky Made Me Do It // Ice Cream Memories // Observing Adults // Snow Tunnels // 1st Day at St. Columba // School Trauma // Second-grade Truth // Bee and Tongue Trauma // Appendicitis & I Love Lucy // Famous Big-Stick Ambush // The Ragman // I Loved to Climb Trees // Play War // My Glider Glided Forever // Front-Porch Marble Races // Knocked Out by a Calf, kind of // Threshing and ... // Riverbed Adventures // Take Me to the Fair // Lump // Bullies // Honeybee Invasion // Circus Watch // I Can't Sing // One-o-Cat // Coca-Cola Crime // Country Kids, City Kids // Flunk into Depression // Spring Break // About Football // Departing Child // Burden of Peace // Planner Defines His Job // Flipflops // Stolen Mayan Artifact // Comfortable Place: Hungary // Nicaragua 2000 // Prospects of Return // Good Day // Shirt-Off-My-Back // Eating Habits // Rubber-Band Boats //
You may also click on a theme below to read a group of sketches so labeled.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I Loved to Climb Trees


I have what I think is a typical level of acrophobia when I am depending only on my feet and balance to keep me from falling. Often as an adult (well not often, but rather on rare occasions I find myself at a large window in a tall building or near the edge of a precipice) I will play with fear. I'll relax, look and marvel fearlessly; then let acrophobia come in to test my limits; then ease it back out again. This is not the use of height to achieve an arousal that I have read about but cannot imagine being less than a terrible distraction from taking me back to the innocent fun I had climbing trees as a kid.

I give this detail only as an introduction to the fact that if I have my hands on a solid grip I experience no acrophobia. I have always been able to climb tall ladders to tall places with ease. As a kid I discovered I loved to climb trees—places where the hands are always as important as the feet. I could have a foot or arm in precarious transition, but as long as I had one hand and one foot secure I could make my way up a tree and out onto its limbs and back with joy—no fear. I did a lot of climbing in the large tree in Genie Forcier's back yard. We went as high and far as the tree would take us, never foolishly, never fearfully, always joyfully. I would go home and tell my mom how much fun I had but never understood why she could not share my enthusiasm.

Older, when I (rarely) see kids climbing trees, I have trouble not fearing for their safety and seeing the hazards of a fall. Luckily, neither of my girls took up the hobby. I feel hypocritical in writing this, because as I kid I promised myself I would not feel this way. I think my problem is it that it is impossible to read into another climber, especially a young one, the sense of control and anticipation I had. I not only knew where my hands and feet were, I also knew where they were going, which of my four grippers were my safety as the others moved from old safety to new. I had a sense of how my body would slip if I miscalculated, and I intuitively used that sense to guide every move. I knew which branch would be backup support to stop a fall. I enjoyed having this sense of both the immediate movement and a larger sense of my relationship in time and space to the tree. That's what gave me confidence.

There remains something of this in my odd habit of playing with acrophobia. I know that a firm grip on a firm object will make it vanish, but, knowing I am in no danger at this window or back from that ledge, I can imagine what it would be to be a true acro-philic, someone who often does not need a solid hand grip to climb to the sky and return safely, enjoyably. Maybe more important, it reminds me of how much time and adventure I enjoyed in the welcoming canopy of trees.




(c) from date of posting, by Bob Komives, Fort Collins 



1

No comments:

Post a Comment