Climbing trees

I’m home this weekend to visit my brother and there’s a tree in the front yard that I’ve passed countless times in the last few years with never a thought to climb it.

Until this evening, that is, when the world is being draped in white, and the orange glow of the lamplight is shining steadily against a deeper and duskier night than the ones I know, and it’s easy to see your surroundings with new eyes.

Also, the snow is too powdery to make a snowman, so I had to think of something else to do.

And isn’t that how it is? A restless urge, when something changes, to change as well, to do something different, to be someone else, somehow, for a while. To forge ahead, even when you don’t know what that’s going to look like, or even how you’re going to do ‘different’.

So you latch onto one of the ideas that you already have, one that’s been floating around in the back of your mind and perhaps doesn’t appear significant, or reasonable, or the answer to everything, but you take it up and run with it because really, that’s all you’ve got to go on right now.

And not having many ideas for what I can do when the world is snowing except make snow angels (check), snowmen (uncheckable) and have snowball fights (attempted check), I looked about me and realised there was a tree with no leaves in winter (very good) and very low branches (very good) that would make it possible to climb it.

If I wanted to.

I’ve never climbed a tree before. I have it on my list of things to do (Plus More), but I’ve been nervous about this prospect for a while. I tried, unsuccessfully, to climb a tree in our Hong Kong garden at the height of Christmas heat two years back, but my trainers just kept slipping and slipping on the bark. And then another year I acquired pinkeye, possibly from tree-hugging, which made me apprehensive about rubbing my face against bark again any time soon. There’s an apple tree in the backyard that I’ve been eyeing for a long time and sussing for its potential as a tree to climb, but I put it off. Not now, it’s summer. Not now, I’m busy with school. Not now, it’s just not now.

But it’s snowing and I couldn’t make a snowman and I wanted to climb this tree in the front yard instead.

So I clambered up to the first branching out at the trunk. I stood, perfectly still, realising, I’m on a tree! And stepped up to the next branch, and the next.

Leaning against snow-covered branches, I looked around me and delighted in my perch. The world was a little different from where I sat, but not by much.

It was almost disappointing.

But even though it wasn’t as exhilarating or life-changing as I’d hoped, I was sitting where I’d never imagined I’d sit, and that was something. I’d done something I secretly thought was never going to happen for me, and even though this wasn’t what I expected — it is a very low tree — sometimes, it really is that easy.

To my friends who don’t know what the future holds and are afraid: None of us know what the future holds, even when we make plans and think we do. Making the right choice isn’t about making a single decision that will result in a perfect outcome, but in making the best decision that you can at this moment in time, with what little that you know now. If you should learn more and think you need to change, then that will be the best decision you can make then. It’s a process, not a one-shot conclusion. Sometimes you’ve just got to pick something and run with it; it probably won’t end up the way you imagine it will, but you’ll get something out of it anyway. Promise.

Lastly, to my friend whose boyfriend made her read my blog while dining at The Keg: This post really isn’t related to any of the things we’ve been discussing together lately, but I hope you enjoyed some of the other things around here I’ve been pointing out, like the playable Angry Birds cake.

Also, this is one of my favourite pictures:

Rawr! It means 'I Love You' in Dinosaur!


(And to her boyfriend — thanks!)

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