Two geese are meandering in the grass near the shoreline.
Several trees are rooted in place mere feet away from the water’s edge, but one in particular catches my eye. It’s early spring, and like so many of the others, its leaves are just beginning to bloom.
But this tree is different than the others. It’s special. This one is my tree.
I approach, gently placing one hand on its bark; a gesture meaning, “I come in peace”.
My tree looks strong, with five main limbs branching out from its trunk.
I take a few breaths before I slowly begin to move again.
The lowest of the limbs is a little higher than my chest, and looks solid enough to support me.
I scan to see if there’s anyone around, anyone whose disapproving glances may prevent me from accomplishing my secret mission.
Only my friends—the two geese and my tree—are here with me.
I come up with a quick game plan in my head.
Get one foot on top of the low limb and then hoist myself using upper body strength assisted by the two higher limbs? Can’t get my hand position right and not enough leverage. Ironically, the realization takes me back to the challenge of indoor rock climbing, and the frustration that ensued.
With renewed determination, I take a few deep breaths and try again. The geese are honking, and I imagine they’re cheering me on. Alas, both feet end up back at ground level.
I approach from another angle; one hand on each of the higher limbs that ascend almost as straight up as the base of the tree itself, as I use my feet to scale its trunk.
My grip is slipping again, and just when I think I’m not quite strong enough and will have to let go, I get one foot up into the crook of my tree.
I pause for a moment—to catch my breath and figure out what’s next.
I’ve been afraid of heights since I broke my arm falling off a four-foot structure when I was six. It’s interesting how much I changed and how I learned to embody fear on that fateful day…
I’m only about five and a half feet off the ground, but my heart is racing. Part exhilaration, part fear. The exact ratio of the two is unclear.
I walk my feet forward over the lowest limb, very slowly, testing to see if it will hold.
There’s no discernible movement in the limb, so I lower myself into the crook, shifting my weight forward slightly to settle into this perfect resting spot.
Here I am now, grown woman in a tree. Not a care in the world—except for maybe how to get myself back down to the ground. But for now I’ll just stay up here in my tree, enjoying the view for a while.
From my sturdy perch, I look out beyond the thick of branches over the water. My thoughts are consumed by the simplicity of nature. Its sheer existence is breathtakingly beautiful.
Birds are singing to each other in the manner of call and reply. The water is still. Grass on the verge of turning green. Sky above, earth below.
In these precious moments as the trees and shrubs begin to emerge from their winter slumber, there’s a prevailing sense of calm, and a palpable sense of hope for the future.
A penny for my thoughts?
Despite my struggles to get here, I feel strong and supported.
I feel as though I’ve come home.
I am at peace.
The auspicious nature of this day far exceeds finding two quarters in the grass on the way back down.
It is neither luck, nor coincidence.
It is all meant to be.
Every detail unfolding exactly as it was written in the grand design of it all:
The geese and the tree. The struggle and the climb. The perspective and the view.
The journey and the destination.
No doubt in my mind I’ve arrived here, in this place, on the wings of an idea called freedom.
I’ve waited a long time to be here and to feel this.
I know there is immeasurable joy to be found in simple pleasures, like riding my bike and climbing my tree. Remembering what it feels like to be a kid.
There’s so much life here, and I finally see I’m part of it.
Now that I’ve found this place, I’ll definitely be back again.
Good day? Yes, I suppose you could say that.