“Who’s up there?” The kid was halfway up the tree. It wasn’t a regular tree–it was a mammoth tree. An “if you fall you’ll be dead,” tree. A tree that went to God.

“Get down!”

That’s what they say to kids in the schoolyard tree. Too risky. Not allowed.  And every playground in the nation’s been retooled and regulated–all the “bad” stuff replaced with pillow-lined bars and fluff on the ground. No scraped knees. Safe!

But this kid…two and a half storeys up–nobody was yelling “Get down!” I inspected the tree from my spot by the fire. There were lots of branches to break his fall and three well-trained nurses in the crowd.

Another kid jumped up. He didn’t climb that high, though.  A few branches up–not even close to death-level. Sprained ankle level at best. Meanwhile, tree boy reached Tower of Babel-high.

“He loves to climb,” his mom said. She didn’t say “Get down!” either. He went a little bit higher. Then, he disappeared. I looked to the top of the tree. No kid. But, there was no kid lying on the grass, screaming, so I went back to eating potato salad with everyone else.

Then, he was back running around on the ground. He went up and down periodically, because he was free. He could reach the sky.

And I wondered, “How high could I climb? Could I reach the sky?”

But I never found out.

Because I didn’t try.


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