On a recent hike, I overheard a woman, who was probably in her late sixties or maybe even early seventies, talking about climbing trees. We were in a heavily wooded area, with very tall trees. It stuck with me and I had to write about it. Here is this woman, later in life, thinking back to when she was young and remembering climbing trees. It made me smile but also made me reflect on my own life and think about all people on a very human level.
My first memory, recently refreshed by my mother, was when I was about five. I climbed to the top of a tree so tall, that I couldn’t get down. I remember being afraid and my only instinct was to climb higher since I couldn’t get down. And then, when I could go no higher, I froze and held tight. I couldn’t let go of the tree. My mother couldn’t find me and enlisted the help of others. I was too afraid to shout out. My mother finally heard a soft cry coming from up high in the tree. Someone had to climb up to coax me down. I was fine and continued climbing until I was a teen.
We as adults look back with fond memories of growing up but never seem to recapture the playfulness of our youth. Makes me think of Peter Pan, the Robbin Williams version with Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook. If you didn’t see it, get in the right frame of mind and watch it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hook_(film) Also, check out the movie Cocoon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocoon_(film) It’s about a group of senior citizens who are rejuvenated in a swimming pool by an alien life force. They play kick the can!
So, why do we stop climbing trees or doing the things that made us happy? Why do we grow up and stop doing the simple things in life that used to bring us so much joy? Is it the pressure of adulthood? Do we become too mature to do these things? Or is it fear? Fear of injury or fear of our peers opinions of this immaturity? Or are we just replacing those activities with new ones? More adult ones. I am guilty of this too.
But, for those of us who are parents we have a choice. We can sit around as mature adults or we can use our children as an excuse to climb a tree! It will probably make them smile too. So come on…lets climb a tree and we will all be happier!