I will doubtless never be forgiven by people who know how to treat trees properly, but here it is:

When I first moved into the house I’m in now, I was mighty impressed by the big ol’ pecan tree out back.  It’s lowest limbs were too high for good climbing, but it’s a fine tree nonetheless.  If you poison all the squirrels (Now I’m in trouble with the people who know how to treat squirrels properly) then you and your family can actually have pecans to eat.  It provides wonderful shade, thus keeping down the utility bills.

On the downside, pecan trees are brittle things and it drops limbs without provocation.  In a high wind, it’s downright murderous, and I worry that one day, it’ll come visit me in the studio personally, taking a lot of roof and things with it.

But then, it provided me with a lot of fun, too.  I put handholds on it.  Y’know, those climbing holds you’re supposed to use on climbing walls?  Those.  I scraped some smooth places in the poor ol’ tree and mounted these holds.  It then wasn’t just a tree, it was a boulder.  (for those of you who don’t do crazy stuff with handholds- it’s climbing if you’re going up, it’s ‘bouldering’ if you’re more or less going sideways)  So I had much fun for a while going round and round my tree.  I found clever little ways of doing it that I was fond of.  My brother, who really IS a climber, showed me a couple of even cooler things (Like pretty much starting from a lying-down position and going up and around. Tough, it was) and I got to the point where I could circle the tree maybe three times before I had to give up with wobbly arms.

I never did do what I wanted to- start a daily regime of circling the tree first thing in the morning to keep in shape.  Ah, well, the best laid plans of mice and men gang oft aglée… or something like that.

Eventually, the tree started healing and the holds are no longer even remotely safe to use.  I took a few of them off so the kids wouldn’t come crashing off the tree.

So one day, maybe I’ll set up something else, but you know what was the best part of handholds on the tree?  Most people that saw them assumed they were for climbing up the tree. and so they’d go up a few feet and then look down and say “I can’t get any farther.  What do I do?”  And you’d tell them “Go around.”  and they would, then they’d say “I’m back where I started.  Now what?” to which the answer was, of course, “Go around again.”  Then they’d get upset and quit.  I don’t know what the hell they thought was up in the tree that they’d rather keep going up, but that’s people for you.


P.S. See, it’s always worth the time to check out the comments. James Riendeau posted a link to this video: