When I was a kid there was a tree within my neighborhood that towered above all the rest. It sat behind a house that had families constantly coming and going, for the most part it was always empty so no one cared that we were in the yard. My friends and I would constantly climb it, we tried to get higher than the day before. We joked with each other about possibly climbing to the top, that dream seeming so far out of reach. We would make it to a certain height and chicken out, the height to an adult was probably daunting.
Our families were not aware we did such a thing, of course the knowledge that what we were doing wrong fueled the rebel inside each of us. One day though a friend of mine and I decide that today was the day, we were going to climb to the top. I can still remember the feelings I had that day. Using my hands to pull on the rough bark, the triumphant feelings after each successful climb. The wind wasn’t exactly rough, but at the height we had found ourselves it was formidable. Fear crept inside me about the possibility of falling but I was able to snuff the feeling with determination.
It wasn’t long before we made it past our highest point, my friend and I would always use a pocket knife to cut a part of the tree. It made it easier when you were trying to determine how high you had gotten the day before. I pulled myself up once again, this time filled me with some type of joy I hadn’t felt before. I had gotten higher than the rest of my friends and I could see the tops of the houses so easily. I didn’t dare look down completely, I’m sure I would have been sick if I had. I continued though until the branches became to thin and unstable to hold my weight. My friend wasn’t far behind and as we clung to the branches support we realized we had made it to the top. A little kids version of Everest and we had conquered it.
It wasn’t soon after that we realized a very important fact, we had been so happy and joyful while basking in the sounds of our other friends cheering from the ground that we forgot. We couldn’t get down. We had climb the tree many times before, but never to the extent that we had that day. We somehow didn’t trust out feet as much as we had our hands, we both knew we were stuck. We starting yelling, screaming frantically for our other friends to get help.
They got our parents, we figured that we might as well let go and fall because they were going to kill us anyways. My mother was livid, she walked to the base of the tree and started screaming towards us. “Wesley Pell Hollifield what in gods name are you doing, GET DOWN FROM THERE!” She yelled to me and to that I replied…
“Don’t you think I’m trying!!!”
It took about an hour for us to find our way to the ground, it would have taken less time, but every time our feet touched another branched successfully we stopped and thanked God. Even though the moment was frightening, I had never felt so free in my entire life. I looked over the entire neighborhood, it seemed as though I could see beyond the horizon.
Some dreams are so vivid that later in life you recall them almost like memories, this is one of those times where I don’t know whether it happened or it was a dream. This was for Linda G Hill’s ‘Stream of Consciousness Saturday‘