Friday, January 26, 2018

A Day I Climbed A Tree

Remembrances of my youth are rich with evidence
Of foolish chances taken without thought to consequence
Falls I took when I was ten were merely cause for laughter
With no thought of how I’d feel some forty long years after

But I take it philosophically
There’s no one to blame but me
Still upright, if not quite erect
Merely middle-aged! (Last time I checked)

I must admit, to myself, my body paid the cost
Of the paradises won, and of the paradises lost
The times I most lament my loss of guts and agility
Are when I watch a child commence to climbing up a tree

Such delicious memories!
The branches swaying with the breeze
A summer day here…(or anywhere!)
Why’d you climb that tree? (‘Cause it was there!)

And from that tree I’d take a trip
Climbing the main sail of my ship
Or scaling a mountain on my own
Or just navigating through parts unknown

Do you remember World War Three?
I fought those battles high up in a tree
Yes, I outwitted Russian trickery
In the embrace of a gnarled hickory

I hung upside down and played ‘trapeze’
On low-hanging branches of sky-reaching trees
(“It seems too safe!” my younger self was convinced...
‘til one day I fell off, then it all made sense)

But a day comes along eventually
(It might not for you but it sure did for me)
When all that I wanted for the rest of my life
Was the girl whose initials I’d carved with my knife

The trunk still carries that old weathered mark
Scratched into the pulp that lay beneath the bark
Though I still love the girl, I sometimes miss the boy
Who climbed to the top of a black walnut for joy!

If you never climbed a tree, you don’t have to take my word
All it takes is some gumption and the courage to go skyward
(But if you’re my age, please listen to my pitch:
The climbing can be glorious but the falling is a bitch!)

Though I complain when raking each Autumn
I love all my trees, from the top to the bottom
But I wish I could play, like I did way back then
And be ‘Tarzan of the Apes’ on his vine once again

I’m balding and I’m wrinkled, but I wear my age with pride
I didn’t get to ‘do it all’ (but God knows that I tried!)
But if someday, my ancient memories slip away from me
I hope that God will leave me one...from a day I climbed a tree.

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