It’s almost like swinging on monkey bars, except the bars have a bit more of a rough structure and they’re quite wider as well. In case you’re wondering …I’m talking about swinging from one branch of a tree to another. The climb isn’t the toughest. The toughest part is getting around the tree without falling.
I’ve done a bit of research on hand size according to gender and age. In work by authors Vicente Gilsanz and Osman Ratib in “Hand bone age” (A digital atlas of skeletal maturity) the hand of a 10-year-old girl is about 11 to 12 cm. I don’t remember ever looking at my hand and wondering “what size is my hand”, but now that I think about it 12 cm is pretty small.
“Sacramento has the most trees per capita in the world,” as stated at forestry.about.com, everywhere we turn we can find a tree. In the summer time that’s great to have, more shade right? But for a lonesome kid, a tree doesn’t only provide shade, it also provides a great adventure.
There were several trees at the house where I grew up. Trees on the side of the house, trees in the front of the house, in the back…they were everywhere and I loved it. I climbed every single tree I possibly could. I imagine there were and currently are many others like myself that found it amusing to see just how far up a tree we could get. One of my favorite trees was the fig tree we had in our backyard. I was on that tree for hours.
I liked to hang upside down from the branches where my legs would grasp tightly on to the tree until I felt light-headed or got a headache. At the time, I didn’t have a computer or any electronic device. The only things I had were the television (with no cable), and my dad’s old Nintendo. TV wasn’t all that great, repeated shows were boring to me and I had finished my dad’s Super Mario game already. With no real flesh and bone opponent to take the other control when playing Street Fighter, the game seemed dull.
My only option was to get a head start on homework, read a book or go outside and play. The first two options weren’t’ really “options” ..at least to me they weren’t. So outside it is!
I can clearly remember the one time I truly felt pain from falling off a tree. I take pain pretty well, I’m one tough cookie. But that time, it really hurt!
I was doing the usual, climbing the tree. I was about 1/3 up the tree, I was pretty thin back then and even the smaller branches would hold my weight fairly well. Hanging upside down, just watching the sun fall. Looking at the beautiful colors that filled the sky with pink, orange, blue and what appeared like a light purple. I spent many peaceful moments on that tree.
A loud but short cracking sound interrupted my concentration. I had never heard that before while on the tree. I suddenly though “uh oh” ….”I should probably get off the tree.” I was still hanging down when I heard another cracking sound. I tried to reach for another branch nearby but it was too wide for only one of my hands to hold on to. Stretching as far to my right as I possibly could to put my hand around that branch; I failed miserably and fell to the ground head first.
The branch, “my branch” as I called it (even though I considered them to be all my branches) was one of the thickest branches on the fig tree and it was the one branch that I always hung upside down from. Either I had gained a little weight or it had grown tired of me. I now have a scar on my right eyebrow, which looks like a very small patch of missing brow hair.
I look at that patch of missing brow hair every day, and remember the good times on the trees. “The city of trees” they call it…my lovely Sacramento. OUR lovely Sacramento. Hopefully you’re able to recall any good memories provided by the trees of our city. Whether it is carved letters inside a heart on the trunk of a tree to represent a time you were deeply in love, or the time you took off a pair of thin branches from a tree to have them serve a good stick fight.