Sunday, September 16, 2007

Another Sign of the Loss of Childhood

Too many years ago, when I was growing up, we did a lot of unthinkable things. We walked to the bus stop without our parents. Sometimes without a jacket when it was a little chilly. We used paper book covers or made them out of paper grocery bags, using scissors. We went to our friends' houses to knock on their doors to see if they could come out to play, without our mothers talking on the phone first to see if it was OK. We played kickball in the street.

And we went to the playground to play baseball. Every day. We had pickup teams. We played all day, or until we we got called to come home for supper. (When I say "we got called" I mean that our mother's screamed for us at the top of their lungs. And woe to you if you didn't show up soon after you were called.) I was among the last ones picked, at least until the time I smacked the ball over the heads of the outfielders, after which I moved up in the picking order.

We also climbed the trees in the woods behind our house. It seemed innocent and safe enough. We didn't know any better.

Fast forward 35 to 40 years and the situation is different. You can play baseball, but only if you register in the township league, get your picture taken, have a paid umpire, and wear an expensive uniform.

And now there's a tree-climbing school. You don't just climb the tree, figuring out how to do it as you go, geting in touch with your inner tree climber. You attend school first, exploring the theory of the branch and bark. According the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Tree Climbing School has made its debut in Western Pennsylvania.

The Tribune-Review article listed some rules of tree climbing. I urge you join us in following them to the letter:
  • Get training from a qualified instructor
  • Never climb near power lines unless energized
  • Do not climb a tree that shows signs of wear or weakness. If there are rotten branches, take a light step first to make sure they won't collapse under your weight.
  • Don't let go of the tree until both feet are on solid ground, if the solid ground is cement. If you're in the woods, you're OK to land in the dirt.
  • Always wear a helmet if riding your free-ride bike on the tree branches.
  • Avoid hornet nests.


At September 27, 2007, Blogger Banjo795 said...

Steph tells me that Penn State offers a course in tree climbing. It's only 1 credit, but I would still object to paying college tuition for that! But then again, I was always good at it, so I never needed anyone to teach me. hmmmm, I may have found my second career ....


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