My knees scraped against the rough bark of the tree. Shorts snagged by the branches behind me. Fingers dug into the one below me, holding my upper body aloft as I inched further along the branch towards the stump– back arched like a cat.
"Are you going to blog about this?" Catherine asked from below. A joke. My phone in her hand, documenting this moment.
"I never know what I'm going to blog about until I do it," I said.
But I knew. I knew this experience would be written down for all to remember in the eons to come– or until the internet was destroyed. For I, Bri Ollre, climbed a tree.
Standing 5foot 1inches tall, I have successfully climbed about two trees in my short life, all before the age of sixteen. Most required someone else assisting me by either shoving me up with both their hands on my bum like one would push an elephant up a hill; or latching onto the side of my shorts like a catapult, both hoisting me into the air and giving me a wedgie that would leave scars. This time–this time— I did it myself.
I was sitting in this particular tree because Lubbock, Texas is where Catherine (
the one judging me for blogging) currently lives, and as she is one of my best friends I have an obligation to visit her every now and then. I, myself lived in Lubbock for three and a half years, studying Management Information Systems (business with a splash of computer science) at Texas Tech University–basically the only reason to visit Lubbock is because either you went to Tech, or someone you know currently goes there.
Before my flight back to Dallas on Sunday, we made a pit stop to the Lubbock Municipal garden so Catherine could go to the Rose garden. On the way to the roses, we stopped to enjoy the shade beneath a pair of old trees. The kind that look like they belong in a fairytale rather than in the middle of a park in West Texas.
The trees surrounded on all sides by a well manicured park and random plots of sunflowers and other foliage. A few dog walkers passed us as we joked and giggled like young twenty year olds up-to-no-good in parks do. Catherine's friend Zane, a lanky boy who wore a matching pair of glasses to mine, was the first to venture onto the tree. His long limbs propelled him up one of the bowed branches. My jealousy rising with each controlled step he took across the branch. How dare he climb that tree with such ease. How dare he.
Not to be out done by this human whom I had met 24 hours earlier, I threw down my purse and scoured for a way to get my short, squat body into the tree.
First, I tried pulling myself up the trunk, which had a solid area in the middle that would have been perfect for me to sit in, but was too high up. My legs just don't bend that way.
Instead of giving up, I scrambled up the same branch Zane had– he now another level up, bounding from branch to branch occasionally grunting like a primate and ignoring the words of caution from Catherine who hovered beneath my flailing body like a worried mother duck.
I bent my body in directions it had forgotten about, knees scraped against bark and smaller branches until finally, finally, I scooted my way up the main branch. The success like a cool breeze sliding down the back of my tank top. It filled me with a strange sort of glee; one reserved for climbing things that would have made my grandmother cry out in worry.
I don't remember the last time I did something so thrilling, so stupid, just because I could. Since starting my job in January I've been in a sort of trance: Wake up, Go to Work, Drive Home, Work Out if I Can Guilt Myself Enough, Eat Dinner, Pet the Cat, Go to Sleep, and Repeat. A monotonous schedule for someone who thrived on unexpected adventures.
Climbing the tree gave me back just a bit of that zeal for life that I missed from childhood– not enough that it fixed everything, but enough to make me not want to hurl my body into an erupting volcano every morning instead of getting out of bed and being an adult.
And to think, I did it all in flip flops.
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Next week I'll be traveling, so expect a tropical travel post in the near future. 🦀🐬
Thanks For Reading!