I’ve always wanted to climb a tree. This desire began when I was a little girl and saw the scene in The Sound of Music where Captain Von Trapp, Max Detweiler, and the Baroness are driving to the Von Trapp house for the first time. They drive past Maria and the children all laughing in the trees, and it looked like so much fun! What freedom there would be from climbing a tree, being up high in the sky – removed from the world – and just enjoying life! To unleash the child within me!
I was walking through Burns Park when I heard what sounded like chatting above me. My initial thought was, “Have I gone crazy or do birds now know how to talk?!” So I somewhat frantically looked about and instead spotted these two girls, sitting like magpies in one of the highest trees (I wish I could tell you what type, but I’m not a tree expert. I do, however, know it’s from the Pinaceae family!) in the park. How they managed to get themselves up there, I have no idea, but they were chatting and laughing and having a fantastic time! My mind immediately flashed to The Sound of Music and my childhood desire to climb a tree, and I was briefly tempted to join them.
Instead, I pulled out my camera and took a picture (because that’s what we ‘mature’ adults do in lieu of climbing trees).
Growing older often leaves us not wanting to take the risks we did as a child. We lose out on some of the joy, most of the invincibility, and nearly all of the innocence that we had when we were young. The experiences we have with each passing year give us a bit more wisdom, yes, but they also take away some of that joie de vivre that we have in childhood.
Which is truly such a shame. While there is something to be said for gaining experience and wisdom, for losing some of the reckless invincibility of youth, that joy and purity of spirit is something that we should hold on to tighter with the passing years. To see the world through child-like eyes, to play like children, to dream like children…
These are aspects of childhood we should strive to retain.
Staring up at those girls at least 30 feet above me, I decided that the next time the opportunity arises to climb a tree, I’m going to take it. I’m going to cultivate the child within me and – despite maturing and growing older – I will hold it close. The innocence, the joy, the purity, the freedom. These are the parts of childhood that I want to stay with me always.
And that I want to encourage me to go climbing trees.